INDIANAPOLIS — You may want to head to your favorite restaurants this weekend.
A new survey from the Indiana Restaurant and Lodging Association (InRLA) says more than 41% of Indiana restaurants believe they will close in the next six months if restrictions remain the same.
“We are forecasting a harder six months moving forward than the previous six,” said InRLA President and CEO Patrick Tamm. “You realize even if you see places busy, we are operating with one hand or two hands tied behind our back.”
“If things continue on the path they are on, not looking good,” said Eric Young, the vice president of Action Enterprising, which runs the Rooftop Bar in Fountain Square along with Imbibe bar. “I think there’s a very real possibility we pack it up and call the dream dead.”
The state hospitality industry saw a boost in July thanks to bonuses to the federal unemployment rate, but once those stopped, InRLA says sales began dropping again in August. While bars and restaurants have been able to acquire paycheck protection program (PPP) loans, some hot spots admit the cash was not enough to break even. As locations with outdoor seating begin to close their patios for winter, the poor projections are only expected to get worse.
“Could they potentially take care of their balcony or their patio? Sure, but that incurs cash which many and most do not have right now,” said Tamm on places heating or covering their patios and balconies.
“This is the one revenue center that is kind of pulling its weight,” said Young of the seasonal outdoor Rooftop Bar that will close in a month when it gets colder. “It was tough under normal times to make a profit, and now we have to limit our business, and limit our business hours.”
While the projections remain extremely treacherous for local restaurants in the coming months, InRLA says the state is actually doing better than most states in the country. That figure only further explains just how bleak the situation is everywhere.