(The Center Square) – Top Iowa Restaurant Association officials have penned a letter to Gov. Kim Reynolds pleading with her to reconsider new restrictions she recently placed on the already crippled industry.
Citing data that indicates young adults aged 19 to 24 made up nearly a quarter of all new recent COVID-19 cases, Reynolds recently moved to issue a proclamation closing bars and restricting restaurants in Polk, Dallas, Linn, Black Hawk, Johnson and Story counties.
Countering such a development does not mark any new trend, Restaurant Association officials added at least 273 bars, 29 Iowa brewers, nine Iowa wineries and four Iowa distillers stand to be adversely impacted by the new restrictions along with 376 local restaurants that serve alcohol.
"These businesses lost St. Patrick’s Day and Mother’s Day and now sit on the brink of losing a beautiful patio weekend over the Labor Day Holiday,” the letter added. “They are once again sitting on thousands of dollars of food and beverage inventories that are unrecoverable losses. Even if they are able to sell to-go food, cocktails and other alcohol, these sales represent a fraction of the on-premise business they are being forced to give up."
Instead of a simply issuing a new set of blanket guidelines that stand to have even more dire consequences for the whole restaurant and bar industry, the letter implored the governor to reinstate the previous guidelines and only punish specific businesses that fail to comply with established standards and guidelines.
Taking pains to remind the governor that the industry employs at least 155,000 local workers, Restaurant Association officials added "We are asking you, take actions to save our industry. Many establishments in these six counties cannot survive if they remain closed until Sept. 20."
Restaurant Association CEO and President Jessica Dunker is already on record in asserting by the time the virus has run its course the industry could have Iowa Restaurant Association has projected that as many as 80,000 industry jobs could be lost.