BOSTON (CBS) — The coronavirus pandemic continues to hit the restaurant industry hard. New numbers from the Massachusetts Restaurant Association show that thousands have been forced to shut down permanently in 2020.
MRA CEO Bob Luz told WBZ-TV that roughly 3,600 restaurants have closed for good – that’s about a fifth of all restaurants in the state. He said that while outdoor dining has kept some restaurants afloat, winter could bring even more closures.
Il Molo in Boston’s North End closed its doors in March and still has not reopened because its bar makes up 20 percent of the restaurant’s capacity.
“That’s like, you’re raising a child. All of a sudden you lose a child. Yea, it was pretty gut-wrenching,” Il Molo’s owner, Donato Frattaroli said.
Boston has seen longtime favorites including The Pour House, The Fours and Cheers at Faneuil Hall close their doors for good in recent weeks. Restaurants in Massachusetts are allowed to offer limited indoor dining with tables spaced at least six feet apart, and bars have been shuttered until there’s a vaccine or coronavirus therapeutics.
Last week, Gov. Charlie Baker said it was “heartbreaking” to see bars and restaurants struggle. He said the pandemic has had a “ripple effect” on local businesses.
“It stinks. It stinks. A lot of this stinks,” Baker said of the closures. “But it’s part of what comes with COVID.”
The North End would normally host a food festival called the Taste of the North End in September. This year, the event will be a virtual fundraiser for local restaurants and community groups. For more information, click here.