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Dine-In Shutdown Crippling Texas Restaurants, Survey Finds

More than half the owners surveyed say it will take them at least nine months to recover, even if allowed to reopen May 1.


Chris Shepherd, a James Beard award-winning chef who owns four restaurants in Houston, seasons short ribs at his Georgia James restaurant. For Shepherd, it’s been “an all-out hustle” to survive after local officials limited restaurants to takeout and delivery, a business environment that has become the temporary new normal for most eateries across the U.S. during the coronavirus outbreak.


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On Monday, Governor Abbott is expected to announce the next phase of reopening the Texas economy. But Texas restaurant owners say it will take them months to recover from the shutdown, if ever.

For weeks, restaurants have been operating with just takeout and delivery services. And now a new survey by the University of Houston's Hobby School of Public Affairs and the Texas Restaurant Association shows that even with the economy reopening, the damage has already been done.

More than half the owners surveyed said it would take them nine months or more to recover, even if they're allowed to open their doors on May 1. Three percent said they don't ever expect to recover.

Eighty percent of owners said they had laid off at least some workers, while 86 percent said they'd cut workers' hours.

The damage has rippled out to food suppliers and other vendors for restaurants. Thirty-eight percent of restaurants report they skipped paying rent in April, while another 30 percent paid less than the amount due.

Read the results of the survey below.

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Andrew Schneider

Andrew Schneider

Politics and Government Reporter

Andrew Schneider is the senior reporter for politics and government at Houston Public Media, NPR's affiliate station in Houston, Texas. In this capacity, he heads the station's coverage of national, state, and local elections. He also reports on major policy issues before the Texas Legislature and county and city governments...

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