Another victim of COVID-19 — association says 30% of GA restaurants to close over pandemic

Another victim of COVID-19 — association says 30% of GA restaurants to close over pandemic

It’s a trend that is happening more and more as the COVID-19 pandemic continues: restaurants going from temporarily closing their doors to shutting down altogether.

Just eight months ago, customers filled The Shed at Glenwood in southeast Atlanta.

Almost every night the restaurant was full of people dining out, and then the pandemic happened – sending all of those people home.

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“We had a very supportive neighborhood clientele,” co-owner Rich Spillane said. “It’s been a nightmare in many, many ways.”

When the restaurant initially closed in March, Spillane told Channel 2′s Justin Wilfon that he believed it was only for a few weeks, but now, it’s for good.

The Shed at Glenwood is one of many restaurants across the state to close their doors permanently.

“We did not fail at all. The restaurant was successful. It’s COVID that caused everything. We were helpless,” Spillane said.

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The Georgia Restaurant Association said about 12% of the state’s restaurants have permanently closed, and before the pandemic ends that number could reach 30%.

“We certainly were able to, in some cases, stay open for delivery, carryout and curbside (pickup). However, not every restaurant could do that,” said Georgia Restaurant Association CEO Karen Bremer.

For other restaurants like The Shed, social distancing restrictions like keeping tables farther apart and allowing in fewer customers made turning a profit impossible.

“It’s a hard business. A restaurant is a very difficult business,” Bremer said.

Many restaurants did receive government loans from the first stimulus package, but that money is now running out.

The Georgia Restaurant Association believes many restaurants will need more loans to keep their doors open.

“To all my fellow restauranteurs and small business owners in particular, my thoughts and prayers are with you that you succeed,” Spillane said.

The GRA told Wilfon that many restaurants are operating at about 50% of their normal revenue right now.

They’re hoping for money from another stimulus package, but that is still tied up in Congress.

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