Local restaurants call for more relief as pandemic continues

Posted at 2:28 PM, Jul 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-16 16:38:05-04

NORFOLK, Va. - As tough times continue during the COVID-19 pandemic, restaurants are calling for more relief.

The National Restaurant Association has created a Blueprint for Revival, calling on Congress to create a relief fund for restaurants, a second round of the Paycheck Protection Program and more flexibility on loans - among other things.

"We really need to have a more sustained program that restaurants can rely on. Otherwise, we're going to see massive amounts of closures and restaurants that just can't make it," said Eric Terry, the president of the Virginia Restaurant Lodging and Travel Association.

Many restaurants are bringing in about 60 to 70 percent of what they normally bring in, Terry said. Because they generally operate on thin margins, many are still losing money, he added.

"We're beginning to have a lot of closures as this extends out, but I think we're going to start seeing more and more closures that occur," he said.

In Virginia, restaurants are also facing increased scrutiny as Gov. Northam has called on them to enforce his mask mandate.

"It certainly makes it tougher, but I share his concern with the spikes we've seen in Hampton Roads," Terry said. "Quite frankly, we need to do a better job in the industry of policing ourselves."

Terry is hopeful Congress will pass the relief before their August recess.