Closed All At Once: Restaurant Industry Faces Collapse

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    These are anxious times for people like Melvin Rodrigue, who lived through Hurricane Katrina . It destroyed his home and shut down his famed Galatoire’s restaurant in the French Quarter of New Orleans. This is far worse, he says. “I think Katrina is going to prove to be a cakewalk compared to this,” Rodrigue says. Insurance paid for his losses then. This time, it won’t. Rapid shutdowns in cities and states to stem the coronavirus have thrown restaurants across the country into sudden and complete disarray. Revenue dried up abruptly, workers faced mass layoffs and restaurant executives tried to manage the resulting chaos. Just about every restaurant nationwide has been hit hard at once, making this disaster unique. “The coronavirus epidemic, it’s unchartered territory for us,” says Sean Kennedy, a spokesman for the National Restaurant Association. Restaurants of all types are in varying states of collapse. The industry is the country’s second-largest private employer with 15.6 million

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