To say that things are difficult would be an understatement. To say things are dire, would not be an overstatement. At this point with the way things are going, it will probably be even more than that.

That's what Iowa Restaurant Association President and CEO Jessica Dunker told KWQC, in discussing the impact the continuing COVID-19 pandemic is having on Iowa restaurants and bars.

The association that Dunker heads estimates that restaurants and bars across the state have already lost $1 billion. When the COVID-19 pandemic started eight months ago, there were about 6,200 bars and restaurants in Iowa. By March, the Iowa Restaurant Association fears that about 1,000 of them will be closed. That would equate to 16 percent of Iowa's bars restaurants that were in business when the pandemic began.

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During a Tuesday press conference, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds discussed concerns for Iowa's restaurant industry, other small businesses, and families:

... while I didn’t close any businesses, the limited hours of operation and the social distancing requirements have had an impact on our hospitality industry through no fault of their own. It’s time for Congress to come together and get a relief package passed get some relief to our small businesses and Iowa families who are suffering.

For now, the Iowa Restaurant Association encourages Iowans to support the businesses in any way they can. Can you afford carry-out an extra day each week?  Unfortunately, many Iowans can't right now, which is worsening an already huge problem.

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