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During Shutdowns, Restaurant Industry Shed Two-thirds Of Jobs

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The National Restaurant Association or NRA has cautioned against closing restaurants a second time due to the coronavirus pandemic, saying that it will put a dangerous strain on an industry that is struggling to stay afloat.

In a letter to the National Governors Association and the U.S. Conference of Mayors, the Association noted that the restaurant industry lost more jobs and more revenue than any other sector of the U.S. economy due to the COVID-19 shutdowns and related economic fallout.

According to the Association, the restaurant industry shed two-thirds of all jobs during the peak of the coronavirus-induced shutdowns and lost more than $145 billion in revenue from March to June.

The NRA added that just as restaurants started to reopen their doors following the shutdowns, nearly 100,000 locations were shuttered again by state or local mandate.

"Restaurants do not open and close as easily as flipping an on/off switch. Making modifications for social distancing, purchasing PPE, training staff on new safety protocols, and stocking kitchens for increased service all add to a restaurant's bottom line," said Sean Kennedy, executive vice president of Public Affairs, NRA.

The NRA said it worked with the FDA, academia, the Conference for Food Protection, public health officials and industry representatives to produce a detailed "Restaurant Reopening Guidance" on how to reopen restaurants in a safe way for employees, customers, and their communities.

Despite the industry's commitment to customer and employee safety, inaccurate information about the industry continued to dot media coverage, social media conversations, and statements from some public officials, the NRA noted. This included references to a non-peer reviewed paper asserting COVID-19 could have spread in a crowded restaurant in China.

"The ongoing comparisons between a single restaurant in China to America's restaurant industry, seeped in a legacy of food handling safety, has had a negative impact on U.S. restaurants, our employees, and has hindered our path toward recovery," the NRA said in the letter.

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