Seafood suppliers take another hit as California shuts indoor dining due to COVID-19

Published on
July 14, 2020

Seafood suppliers, distributors, and wholesalers – already reeling from the plunge in foodservice business due to COVID-19 – face more grim news as California orders the closure of restaurants for indoor dining.

On 13 July, California Governor Gavin Newsom ordered the closure of bars, indoor restaurants, movie theaters, and many other recently reopened businesses across California, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. The state’s COVID-19 cases have surged, with more than 8,000 new cases daily and 334,000 total reported cases as of 13 July.

The closure of restaurants in California – the nation's most populous state and the world's fifth-largest economy – is yet another blow to seafood suppliers. New Jersey and New York City also recently voted to allow only outdoor dining, and Florida recently ordered the re-closure of indoor bars – but has stopped short of shutting down restaurant dining rooms.

"California won't be the last state to reverse or delay the return of independent restaurants and bars, and that's exactly why Congress needs to pass a relief program for our industry," Caroline Styne, member of the Independent Restaurant Coalition Advisory Board and chef/partner of the Los Angeles-based Lucques Group, said in an IRC statement provided to SeafoodSource.

”Restaurants placing their first supply orders since March can't turn the delivery trucks around. These re-closings are creating more debt for businesses that were just beginning to find their footing after accumulating four months of unpaid bills,” Styne said.

Outdoor dining is not a long-term solution, she pointed out, since not all independent restaurants have the ability or resources to seat customers outside. 

Styne and others are urging Congress to pass The new Real Economic Support That Acknowledges Unique Restaurant Assistance Needed to Survive (RESTAURANTS) Act of 2020, which would establish a USD 120 billion (EUR 107 billion) revitalization fund to help independent restaurants deal with the long-term structural challenges facing the industry caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

It would also support the reemployment of 11 million workers, the Independent Restaurant Coalition said in a press release.

“Members of Congress from states closing down dining rooms need to support the RESTAURANTS Act, and give their independent restaurants a fighting chance at reopening when it's safe to do so,” Styne said. 

Photo courtesy of Lando Aviles/Shutterstock  

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