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Ohio restaurants lost $698 million in sales in March, 10% project closing permanently

According to the Ohio Restaurant Association, Ohio restaurants lost nearly $700 million in sales during March due to the coronavirus (COVID-19).

With the effects of the coronavirus (COVID-19) putting a strain on the economy, new numbers released by the Ohio Restaurant Association show how much damage has been done -- and could continue to be done -- to the state's restaurants.

According to an update provided by the ORA on March 26, Ohio's restaurant industry lost an estimated $698 million in sales during the first 22 days of March. The industry also lost an estimated 100,000 jobs in that span.

On average, restaurants reported a 45 percent decline in sales during the period from March 1 to March 22, with 87 percent of restaurants reporting a decline in sales year-over-year.

On March 15, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine issued an order closing the state's bars and restaurants in order to encourage physical distancing as a response to the coronavirus. While restaurants were allowed to stay open for takeout and delivery services, a reported 67 percent of restaurants were forced to lay off employees, while 66 percent had to cut employees hours, per the ORA's report.

The immediate future doesn't look promising either. After 29 percent of Ohio restaurants closed temporarily last month, nine percent are forecasting that they'll close permanently in April. According to the report, 1 percent of Ohio restaurants closed last month.

As a response to the hardships facing the industry, the ORA is hosting webinars with guest speakers, elected officials and restaurant owners. Additionally, the association has launched a website page dedicated to coronavirus updates related to the industry, which can be found at www.ohiorestaurant.org/coronavirus-resource-center.

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