In June, the Massachusetts Restaurant Association estimated that nearly a quarter of state restaurants would not survive the coronavirus pandemic.
Association President and CEO Bob Luz confirmed these numbers on Monday, telling WBZ-TV: “We estimate that 3,600 of the 16,000 restaurants in Massachusetts exist [around] March 1 has not reopened since the beginning of the pandemic ”- around 23 percent.
It remains to be seen whether these restaurants have closed permanently or will be able to reopen at some point. Luz told Boston.com, “Some may come back, some may still fall, but we believe this is the current number.”
The closings have affected all types of facilities.
“Remember, this encompasses the full rainbow of restaurant options, from coffee shops, breakfast items, sandwich shops, fast, casual full-service to five-star gourmet restaurants,” said Luz. “It’s not just full-service restaurants.”
The list of permanent closings in the Boston area is growing every week, with a number of announcements including Lir, The Fours, and The Friendly Toast in Cambridge. Even more problematic, winter is just around the corner, with a host of new challenges restaurants will face as the outdoor patios no longer provide the extra seating needed to stay afloat.
In a recent article from The Boston Globe, restaurant owners described the strategies they might want to use in cool weather, from heating lamps and blankets to igloos. Stillwater chef and owner Sarah Wade is considering branded ceilings and describes them as “another marketing touchpoint.” Steve “Nookie” Postal, owner of the Commonwealth of Cambridge, told Globus that his restaurant will go into hibernation for the winter months, but he thinks “we will survive.”
For Luz, the even harsher realities of winter are not affecting the devastation that gastronomy has already seen.
Put simply, “It’s a tough blow,” he said.
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