Arizona restaurant industry resilient amid 2020 coronavirus impacts

Dec 30, 2020, 5:30 AM | Updated: 7:21 am

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)...

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

PHOENIX – Coronavirus has wreaked havoc on business across the United States and restaurants in Arizona have also sustained some of the hits.

The Arizona Restaurant Association estimates 235,000 Arizonans were employed by the industry at the beginning of the year.

Roughly 70% to 80% of the restaurant workforce was laid off and or furloughed following Gov. Doug Ducey’s March 30 executive order that shuttered nonessential businesses in an effort to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

Around 165,000-180,000 employees are estimated to have lost their income throughout Arizona as a result.

“2020 is probably the greatest challenge that the restaurant industry in Arizona has faced for generations to come,” Arizona Restaurant Association Chief Operating Officer Dan Bogert told KTAR News 92.3 FM on Tuesday.

Despite the hardships brought on by COVID-19, the industry has proved to be resilient.

To date, the industry has continued to bounce back and is currently down about 15%-20% of their original employee count.

In 2019, the industry in Arizona was estimated to be worth $13.4 billion. To date, the Arizona Restaurant Association says the industry is down about 20% from last year, which would mean about $2.7 billion in revenue has been lost.

That revenue loss has resulted in 1,000-1,200 restaurants in Arizona to permanently close, so far.

Bogert believes the newly signed coronavirus relief bill should breathe some life back into the state’s industry with additional funding. Extended patios, which will increasing restaurant capacity, are expected to be on their way with additional funding made available Ducey earlier this month.

Bogert added that the industry still needs local support.

“Please, get out there and visit your favorite restaurant,” Bogert added. “If you don’t feel comfortable eating out, order take out. Whatever you can helps.”

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Arizona restaurant industry resilient amid 2020 coronavirus impacts