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Many Restaurants Face Closures By End Of 2020

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Alarming new numbers for the restaurant industry have been released this week estimating $240 billion in losses by the end of 2020. One-hundred-thousand restaurants across the country have permanently closed in the last six months, including many in Utah.

When you walk through the streets of Downtown Salt Lake City, they look a little different these days. With people working from home, and events canceled, that’s meant less foot traffic, causing some restaurants to close. Owners worry it is just the beginning.

Covid has changed the way people dine, if they choose to do so at all.

“It’s unfortunate to see our community kind of in peril,” said Joey Cannella, owner of Taco Taco, Cannella’s

After 42 years, the Cannella family closed their restaurant because of COVID. Joey Cannella tried to keep it going but with profits down, and no more PPP money, he didn’t have a choice.

“It’s a tough thing to swallow and it is out of our control,” he said.

The National Restaurant Association came out with a new survey that warns 40% of restaurants could face the same future by the end of the year. Reporting 1 in 6 restaurants have closed in the last six months, not to Cannella’s surprise.

“I mean it hurts but no,  I would say 1 in 6 is conservative,” he said. 

Other  restaurant owners said downtown spots are more effected than others.

“I feel like the suburbs have fared much better as well. I think the city is really taking it on the chin,” Cannella said. 

His other restaurant Taco Taco has cut down their staff by more than half. Cannella got help with PPP, but thinks the government missed the mark on the rollout of the funds and changed the rules on spending it too late.

“And to know that a lot of the money went to places that didn’t really need it,” he said. 

The National Restaurant Association is asking Congress to get a program going specifically for the service industry. Cannella stands by that idea and thinks if things were clearer from the beginning, he wouldn’t have had to close one of his restaurants.

“You don’t want to go out on something that is not your fault… right?” he said. 

He’s hoping there will be changes by the end of the year.

“Lets take 2020 and learn from it.. because you know, there were a lot of mistakes made,” he said. 


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