The Connecticut Restaurant Association (CRA) has launched a new campaign pushing for more help for the industry, which has been devastated by the coronavirus pandemic.
According to CRA, more than 600 Connecticut restaurants have closed over the last eight months, and they worry more closures are coming without support.
In a letter to Gov. Ned Lamont, CRA Executive Director Scott Dolch asked the state for support in three key ways: allowing indoor dining ot continue, creating a new restaurant grant program, and help bolstering consumer confidence.
The state did offer a small business grant program using federal CARES Act funds, but CRA argues the program was not enough, and said nearby states have created more robust aid programs that could be used as a model to help Connecticut restaurants stay open.
More than 160,000 people worked in the industry before the pandemic hit, and the shutdown and COVID-19 restrictions created significant losses. Even when allowed to reopen, capacity restrictions and the costs of outfitting buildings to comply with COVID-19 sector rules have continued to hurt the bottom line.
“Few sectors of Connecticut’s economy have been hit harder by the COVID pandemic than our local restaurant industry,” Dolch wrote in the letter. “Unfortunately, more than 600 restaurants have already closed over the past eight months, and without additional support many more are likely to shutter in the weeks and months ahead. These are predominantly small businesses, often family run, who are employing local Connecticut residents in every corner of our state.”
Read the full letter below: