Over the course of the last year and a half, we've heard of quite a few Eastern Iowa restaurants that have been forced to close their doors. This is, of course, terrible news, but according to a new article from the Cedar Rapids Gazette, things could've been worse.

The Gazette recently interviewed the president and CEO of the Iowa Restaurant Association Jessica Dunker, and she told the publication that the state of Iowa has fared better than the majority of other states when it comes to restaurants. The association initially predicted that Iowa would lose around 1,000 restaurants over the course of the pandemic, but they believe that number is actually around 750. Jessica said that the lower number is due to a couple of different factors:

"Number one is that communities rallied around us, which was wonderful. Number two, the state of Iowa — first the agencies and the governor’s office and then the Legislature — really stretched and did about as much as a state can do to support an industry."

Because Iowa didn't have as many restrictions for as long as other states did, folks from bordering states traveled here, which also helped out a lot of businesses. And, the way that restaurants adapted to the restrictions was very helpful, too. Carryout and delivery became a big focus for a lot of businesses for the first time.

Unfortunately, things aren't exactly back to "normal" yet. The rise in COVID-19 cases in the state and a surge of the delta variant is impacting the industry, but the biggest problem seems to be a continued shortage of workers. Jessica told the Gazette that they hope the number of workers will increase now that the kids are back in school.

You can read Jessica's full interview with the Gazette, including predictions for the future of the restaurant industry HERE.

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