COVID-19 toll on St. Louis area restaurants

Some restaurants sued St. Louis County Wednesday for lifting indoor dining bans

ST. LOUIS COUNTY, MO. – Approximately five restaurants in the St. Louis area have closed permanently each week due to the pandemic. This is shown by new data, which provides the latest indication of the devastating effects of Covid-19 on local service companies and their employees.

“It’s never been done before,” said Bill Stevens, senior executive at CHD Experts, a provider of market intelligence data to the food service and restaurant industries. “I’ve been in this industry for 12, 13 years and have never seen anything close.”

The new numbers also come as some area restaurants face renewed indoor dining bans that went into effect Tuesday in St. Louis County amid rising cases of Covid-19. Some sued the county on Wednesday to lift the ban, fearing they would not be able to survive a four-week shutdown, also because there was no new government virus aid. The prospect of further restrictions is also looming.

Chicago-based CHD last week published reports on the St. Louis foodservice industry for the Business Journal, showing that 198 restaurants have permanently closed since March when local closings began. That’s nearly 3% of the 7,196 grocery businesses in the metropolitan area, a number that encompasses everything from fine dining to fast casual to resorts, casinos and country clubs. The National Restaurant Association announced in September that six months after the pandemic began, every sixth US restaurant – or about 100,000 – was either permanently or long-term closed.

Local businesses affected include household names such as Cafe Osage in the Central West End and the landmark Shrine Restaurant in Belleville.

However, the data also shows the impact on small, lesser-known holdings.

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About five restaurants in the St. Louis area have closed permanently each week due to the pandemic. This is based on data obtained from some local facilities facing new business restrictions. Https://t.co/xL8zd6B7ep

– STLBusinessJournal (@stlouisbiz), November 19, 2020

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