Louisiana's restaurant industry has been hit hard by the pandemic. Stan Harris the President and CEO of the Louisiana Restaurant Association says our state has lost thousands of jobs and hundreds of restaurants have closed for good.

Harris says "we are taking small steps back. When we increased capacity from 25 to 50%, that helped. But we are still limited to getting back to full blown operations."

He adds "We are very encouraged by the expansion of the vaccine and that will help us get back quicker."

Harris says 20 to 25% of restaurants and bars in Louisiana have closed permanently. He says they could not operate at a volume that would let them stay in business. He says federal dollars have helped keep some restaurants in business and more help is on the way. He says the money was a lifeline that provided up to 32 weeks of aid and this new pile of money will also help keep some struggling restaurants open in our state.

But he tells us Louisiana has lost 27,000 jobs in the restaurant industry over the past year. But he says about 18,000 of those jobs are in the New Orleans area.

Harris has some advice to local bar and restaurant owners. He says you should stay up to speed on what advocates are doing to help them make a comeback. He also says you should keep up to date on what is happening on the federal level as well.

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