The leader of a membership-based organization that advocates for Georgia restaurant owners says she believes that roughly 4,000 restaurant members have closed their businesses due to the ongoing health crisis.
“We believe, at this point, that we have about 14,000 out of 19,000 restaurants still operating here in Georgia,” said Karen Bremer, who serves as the president and CEO of the Georgia Restaurant Association (GRA).
Bremer was a guest on Wednesday’s edition of “Closer Look.”
She told show host Rose Scott that pre-pandemic, the restaurant industry was on track to generate $25 billion in revenue and held the position as the second-largest private-sector employer in The Peach State — but things quickly took an unexpected turn.
“On March 17, 2020, we laid off about 300,000 workers. Thankfully, many of them are back to work now, even though we still have a labor issue,” the hospitality giant and former restaurant owner said.
Bremer went on to say that even though restaurants are struggling when it comes to being fully staffed right now, the industry is expected to make a comeback.
“All of the Gallup polls indicate there’s an overwhelming demand by consumers because people are now vaccinated,” said Bremer.
The demand for people wanting to return to eateries falls on the heels of Gov. Brian Kemp’s latest move to ease COVID-19 restrictions for restaurant and bar owners.
During the virtual radio interview, Bremer also mentioned resources and webinars available to help restaurant owners amid the COVID-19 pandemic and discussed details about the Restaurant Revitalization Fund.
To listen to the full conversation, click the audio player above.