Busy restaurants become a distant memory as more close their doors

Business News

WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) — While some restaurants are opting to temporary close during Rhode Island’s pause, others are being forced to close their doors seemingly for good.

President and CEO of the Rhode Island Hospitality Association Dale Venturini reports that, according to a recent survey, nearly half of the state’s restaurants are considering closing until the pandemic is over.

‘It’s not sustainable’: Restaurant owner calls for consistent regulations, more funding »

Venturini said Gov. Gina Raimondo’s restrictions, including closed bar areas, capacity restrictions and curfews, are leaving many restaurants with empty seats.

“Right now, with the holidays coming up, people are feeling absolutely devastated,” Venturini said.

Several restaurant owners that recently spoke with 12 News said this is typically the busiest time of year, and that celebrations, family gatherings and holiday parties would normally give them a seasonal boost.

But instead, Venturini said many in the hospitality industry are just hoping to make it through each day.

“There are families, you know, people are thinking about losing their homes,” Venturini said. “There are young families that made the American dream of their restaurant, they had a child, now they don’t know where they’re going to turn.”

O’Rourke’s Bar and Grill choose to close during the first two weeks of the state’s pause, but the owner tells 12 News she plans to reopen on Monday even though the governor extended it another week.

The owner also said O’Rourke’s will keep their famous lobster roll, a seasonal summer favorite, on the menu all winter long in an effort to boost revenue.

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