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States where restaurants have been hit the hardest by COVID-19

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States where restaurants have been hit the hardest by the coronavirus

There’s virtually no industry in the world that hasn’t been impacted by the coronavirus, but few have been pummeled like restaurants in the U.S. Stay-at-home orders and other COVID-19 restrictions have forced many restaurants across the country to switch to takeout and delivery only, or close altogether. The National Restaurant Association predicted in mid-April that the restaurant and foodservice industry would suffer more than $50 billion in lost sales that month alone. Some 96% of restaurants in the fine-dining segment, which is characterized by elevated table service, have needed to lay off the vast majority of their staffs, according to a survey of 6,500 restaurant operators conducted April 10–16. The results also showed that at least four in every 10 restaurant operators have furloughed or permanently laid off all their workers.

While restaurants in every state have seen revenue decline during the pandemic, those in some states have suffered more than others. Stacker sourced data on how restaurants have fared during the coronavirus from Womply from April 29, 2020, which found that revenue at U.S. restaurants is down by 44%. Data shows change in restaurant year-over-year sales for the week ending April 25, 2020. States are ranked from lowest to highest sales loss. Delaware and Hawaii are not included as data was not available. Stacker also looked at news articles, government reports, and information from industry trade groups to learn more about how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted restaurants in each state.

Restaurants are eagerly waiting for the time when they can reopen safely, and in some states, they’ve already started welcoming diners back. The dining experience has changed, however. Once-crowded dining rooms have cut capacity and spaced tables far apart. Other government officials have advised that servers wear masks and gloves. And you might even need to have your temperature checked before you’re seated.

Wondering how your favorite restaurants might be holding up? Read on to learn about the states where restaurants have been hit the hardest by the coronavirus.

Related: Industries with the biggest dropoff in foot traffic during COVID-19

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Portland Press Herald // Getty Images

#48. Maine

- Average revenue vs. same week in 2019: -8%

Struggling with drops in revenue during the COVID-19 crisis, restaurant owners in Maine are frustrated by the shutdown. Some restaurant owners took matters into their own hands, defying restriction orders and reopening on their own. In response to the outcry, the governor pushed up the reopening date for restaurants in rural areas to May 18.

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#47. Alaska

- Average revenue vs. same week in 2019: -15%

While restaurants in Alaska have been permitted to reopen since April 24, a new restriction that prohibits dine-in seating to just one quarter of total capacity may not make it feasible. Experts estimate that fewer than 5% of the state’s 1,500 restaurants will reopen, according to Sarah Daulton Oates, president and chief executive of the Alaska Cabaret, Hotel, Restaurant and Retailers Association.

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#46. Michigan

- Average revenue vs. same week in 2019: -18%

Around 20 restaurants in Michigan may be permanently closing every day during the state’s stay-at-home order, said Justin Winslow, president and CEO of the Michigan Restaurant and Lodging Association in an article by Syma Chowdhry of WXYZ. The scheduled reopening date for bars and restaurants in the state is May 28, 2020.

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#45. New Hampshire

- Average revenue vs. same week in 2019: -20%

New Hampshire’s hospitality industry has lost at least $800 million during the coronavirus pandemic, according to Monica Hernandez of WMUR. A task force in the state has proposed a four-phase plan to reopen restaurants, which would initially include spacing tables six feet apart, banning buffets, and capping parties at 10 people maximum.

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Rick Friedman // Getty Images

#44. Vermont

- Average revenue vs. same week in 2019: -22%

More than $500 million of Vermont’s gross domestic product comes from restaurants, according to Anne Wallace Allen of VTDigger. Restaurant owners in the state are pushing for a meals tax abatement to help with their financial recovery from the pandemic.

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#43. Nebraska

- Average revenue vs. same week in 2019: -23%

Restaurants were allowed to reopen in 59 Nebraska counties on May 4, as long as they followed certain restrictions, according to Allison Mollenkamp of NET News. They must space tables at least six feet apart, mandate their staff wear masks, limit the size of parties to no more than six people, and operate at half capacity.

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#42. Indiana

- Average revenue vs. same week in 2019: -24%

Restaurants in northwest Indiana are hoping that residents from neighboring Illinois will drive across the border for a meal as the state slowly reopens, according to Jermont Terry of CBS Chicago. Restaurants in that region have seen business decline, even though they’ve offered takeout options, and they’re hoping for a boost in business from diners outside the state.

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#41. Arizona

- Average revenue vs. same week in 2019: -25%

Several restaurant chains in Arizona have suffered a 70% nosedive in sales since the COVID-19 outbreak, according to an early April report from the state’s Joint Legislative Budget Committee. Even though restaurants have seen a boost in takeout orders, it hasn’t made up for significant losses incurred after in-house dining was shut down by the governor.

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#40. Iowa

- Average revenue vs. same week in 2019: -25%

Restaurants in Iowa are experiencing year-over-year losses of 75% on average due to the pandemic, according to the Iowa Restaurant Association. The state’s restaurant and food service industry was also expected to see a $310 million drop in sales during the month of April.

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#39. South Dakota

- Average revenue vs. same week in 2019: -25%

South Dakota was the only state that did not issue a temporary ban on dine-in service during the coronavirus outbreak, according to Colman Andrews of 24/7 Wall St. Despite an official mandate, many bars and restaurants in Sioux Falls, the largest city in South Dakota, switched to takeout only in an effort to protect staff and patrons, according to Pam Louwagie of Star Tribune.

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#38. Idaho

- Average revenue vs. same week in 2019: -27%

Of the 90% of businesses in Idaho permitted to reopen during stage one of the governor’s four-stage plan to end the shutdown, none were dine-in restaurants, according to Betsy Z. Russell of the Post Register. Restaurants must wait until the second phase of the plan, which won’t kick in until May 16, 2020, at the earliest. In the meantime, they’re relying on takeout orders to keep their businesses afloat, according to Molly Wampler of Boise State Public Radio.

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#37. Mississippi

- Average revenue vs. same week in 2019: -27%

More than 30,000 restaurants in Mississippi have closed up shop during the pandemic, according to Dennis Seid, Josh Mitchell, and Ray Van Dusen of the Daily Journal. Those still open have gotten creative to attract business, offering lunch specials, family packs, and other promotions.

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#36. West Virginia

- Average revenue vs. same week in 2019: -27%

Restaurants in West Virginia got the go-ahead to open for outdoor dining service on May 4. Despite the potential for a boost in sales, some restaurants have decided to remain closed out of an abundance of caution during the pandemic, according to Bailey Pace of WVVA.

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#35. Oklahoma

- Average revenue vs. same week in 2019: -28%

The shutdown of bars and restaurants in Tulsa may be costing the city as much as $2 million a month in tax revenue, according to Gustavo Olguin of KTUL. Restaurants in Oklahoma raked in $7.6 billion in sales in 2018, according to the Oklahoma Restaurant Association.

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#34. Pennsylvania

- Average revenue vs. same week in 2019: -28%

Around 96% of Pennsylvania restaurants have laid off or furloughed their employees since early March, according to data from the National Restaurant Association. The disruption has left around 81% of all restaurant workers in the state out of a job.

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#33. North Dakota

- Average revenue vs. same week in 2019: -30%

Every dollar spent on dining in North Dakota restaurants brings $1.67 to the state’s economy, according to 2018 data from the National Restaurant Association. After the state mandated restaurants stop offering table service on March 19, restrictions were lifted on May 1, with eateries following new guidelines such as cleaning as often as possible and maintaining social distancing for diners and staff.

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#32. Kentucky

- Average revenue vs. same week in 2019: -31%

The Kentucky Restaurant Association estimates that restaurants in the state saw sales revenue drop by $550 million in April. While closed to dine-in customers, some Kentucky restaurants have tried to boost sales by offering margaritas, bourbon slushies, and other cocktails for takeout, according to Janet Patton of Lexgo Eat.

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#31. Ohio

- Average revenue vs. same week in 2019: -31%

Ohio restaurants have laid off or furloughed 300,000 workers during the pandemic, according to Alan Ashworth of the Beacon Journal. The Ohio Restaurant Association says that ten percent of Ohio restaurants could fall to the virus, and those that remain may only reach 40 to 50 percent of previous sales levels.

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#30. Utah

- Average revenue vs. same week in 2019: -31%

Some restaurants in Utah began reopening on May 1 under new restrictions, like a 50% cap on capacity and tables spaced six feet apart, according to Michael Locklear of KUTV. One restaurant in Salt Lake City has suffered an 85% reduction in sales since the middle of March, according to a story from Brady McCombs of the Associated Press.

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#29. Wisconsin

- Average revenue vs. same week in 2019: -31%

Wisconsin restaurants suffered a loss of more than $630 million in revenue, according to a survey conducted in April by the Wisconsin Restaurant Association (WRA). The WRA estimates that two out of every three restaurant staffers are out of work.

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#28. Connecticut

- Average revenue vs. same week in 2019: -35%

Almost half of Connecticut’s restaurants have temporarily closed during the pandemic, according to Scott Dolch, executive director of the Connecticut Restaurant Association. He says 3% will never reopen, while up to 500 more restaurants are in danger of permanent closure.

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#27. New Jersey

- Average revenue vs. same week in 2019: -35%

Restaurants were the largest private sector employer in New Jersey before they furloughed or laid off 80% of workers during the pandemic, according to CBS New York. Up to 18% of restaurants in the state may permanently close if stay-at-home orders continue through Memorial Day, according to the New Jersey Restaurant and Hospitality Association.

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#26. Massachusetts

- Average revenue vs. same week in 2019: -36%

More than 211,000 restaurant workers in Massachusetts have been laid off or furloughed during the pandemic, according to Michael Bonner of MassLive. Results of a National Restaurant Association survey of 6,500 nationwide restaurants conducted April 10–16, 2020, forecast a $1.3 billion loss in sales in restaurants across the state in April.

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#25. Wyoming

- Average revenue vs. same week in 2019: -36%

Unlike most other states, the Wyoming state government has offered no support other than federal assistance to its restaurants, according to Joseph Guszkowski and Kristina Peters of Restaurant Business. A state health order scheduled through May 15, 2020, forces restaurants to cease all services except takeout, delivery, and curbside pickup, according to Buckrail.

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#24. Maryland

- Average revenue vs. same week in 2019: -37%

Around four in 10 restaurants in Maryland have been forced to close during the pandemic, according to the Restaurant Association of Maryland. A report from Amanda Yeager of the Baltimore Business Journal states that nearly 150,000 restaurant workers in the state have been left unemployed.

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#23. Texas

- Average revenue vs. same week in 2019: -38%

Around 688,000 restaurant jobs in Texas were estimated to be lost by the end of April, according to the Texas Restaurant Association. Around one in 50 restaurants in the state have shut down permanently during the pandemic.

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#22. Colorado

- Average revenue vs. same week in 2019: -40%

More than 90% of restaurants in Colorado have laid off or furloughed members of their staff since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak in March, according to surveys of thousands of restaurant owners across the state and country conducted by the Colorado Restaurant Association and the National Restaurant Association in mid-April. Restaurants in the state experienced a 76% drop in sales during the first 10 days of April.

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#21. Louisiana

- Average revenue vs. same week in 2019: -41%

Louisiana was home to more than 9,500 restaurants in 2018, according to the National Restaurant Association. Restaurants in the state have been struggling after being forced to close in mid-March, according to Tiana Kennell of the Shreveport Times. While dine-in service is still not permitted, regulations have been lifted to allow customers to dine at outdoor seating areas.

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Boston Globe // Getty Images

#20. Rhode Island

- Average revenue vs. same week in 2019: -41%

Rhode Island restaurants saw a 53% drop in seated customers within a week of the governor’s state of emergency declaration on March 9, compared with a year earlier, according to data from OpenTable. Dine-in food services were shut down in the state on March 18.

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#19. Alabama

- Average revenue vs. same week in 2019: -43%

Alabama’s restaurant industry was forecast to see a $585 million reduction in sales in the month of April, according to the National Restaurant Association. They were forced to cease dine-in operations in mid-March.

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#18. Illinois

- Average revenue vs. same week in 2019: -43%

Dine-in restaurant service in Illinois has been temporarily banned since mid-March. The governor’s Restore Illinois plan will not allow them to reopen until June 26, 2020, at the earliest, according to Ashok Selvam of Eater. While the state has created a $14 million special aid package to help the state’s small hospitality businesses (including bars and restaurants) stay afloat amid stay-at-home orders, only 10% of applicants have received the funds, according to Greg Hinz of Crain’s Chicago Business.

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#17. Kansas

- Average revenue vs. same week in 2019: -43%

Kansas restaurants began reopening for dine-in customers on May 4, according to Jim McLean and Corinne Boyer of KCUR. They must limit groups to 10 people or less during the first phase of reopening.

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Education Images // Getty Images

#16. Minnesota

- Average revenue vs. same week in 2019: -43%

Around half of the businesses in Minnesota’s hospitality industry are at risk of permanent closure by July, according to Liz Rammer, chief of Hospitality Minnesota, a trade group that represents restaurants, bars, and hotels in the state. Sales at some restaurants in the state were down by 85%, according to Callan Gray of KSTP.

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#15. New Mexico

- Average revenue vs. same week in 2019: -43%

Around 3% of New Mexico’s 3,500 restaurants went out of business after their state closed dine-in service on March 18, according to the New Mexico Restaurant Association. Restaurants in the state brought in $4 billion in sales in 2018.

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#14. Missouri

- Average revenue vs. same week in 2019: -44%

Some restaurant owners in Missouri say that a state waiver that allows them to sell pre-mixed cocktails curbside is helping them keep staff employed, according to Chris Hayes of Fox 2 Now. The Missouri Alcohol and Tobacco Control loosened the rules on to-go alcohol sales in effort to help restaurants during the shutdown, according to KRMS.

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#13. Virginia

- Average revenue vs. same week in 2019: -44%

The Virginia Restaurant Lodging and Travel Association, which represents restaurants, hotels, and tourist attractions, estimates that the industry lost $1.3 billion in revenue in April. Around 250,000 jobs in the industry were lost in a matter of days during the pandemic, according to Ric Young of CBS 19 News.

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Jessica McGowan // Getty Images

#12. Arkansas

- Average revenue vs. same week in 2019: -45%

Restaurants in some Arkansas cities, including Little Rock, North Little Rock, and Conway, are forecast to lose $178.8 million in 2020 due to the pandemic, according to an analysis from Smith Travel Research and the University of Arkansas Walton School of Business. They also found that casual dining restaurants in the state have seen 77% losses between March 9 and April 11.

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#11. Tennessee

- Average revenue vs. same week in 2019: -45%

There were more than 11,000 restaurants in Tennessee in 2018, according to the National Restaurant Association and the Tennessee Hospitality & Tourism Association. The state’s plan to reopen dine-in services includes a number of strict regulations that may make it impossible for some restaurants to turn a profit, ultimately putting them out of business, according to CNBC’s Jim Cramer.

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#10. North Carolina

- Average revenue vs. same week in 2019: -46%

North Carolina’s hospitality industry, which includes restaurants, is a $32.4 billion field, according to Nyamekye Daniel of The Center Square. More than 75% of restaurants in the state have seen sales drop by at least 70% during the pandemic, according to an April 30 letter from the North Carolina Restaurant and Lodging Association.

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#9. Oregon

- Average revenue vs. same week in 2019: -46%

In March and April, around 4% of Oregon restaurants shuttered permanently, according to survey data from the National Restaurant Association. It is predicted that by the end of May, 10% of restaurants in the state may never reopen.

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#8. Montana

- Average revenue vs. same week in 2019: -47%

Restaurants in Missoula, Montana, have their work cut out for them in order to reopen during phase one of the state’s plan, according to Shannon MacNeil of NBC Montana. They must meet more than 20 requirements, such as reducing capacity by half, spacing groups six feet apart, eliminating self-serve condiments, and cleaning menus between customers.

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#7. Washington

- Average revenue vs. same week in 2019: -47%

At least three out of every four restaurant workers in Washington were either furloughed or laid-off permanently by April 23, according to the National Restaurant Association. Data from that organization, as well as the Washington Hospitality Association, shows that 10% of employment in Washington comes from restaurant and foodservice jobs.

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#6. Georgia

- Average revenue vs. same week in 2019: -51%

In an effort to offset the negative impact of the COVID-19 crisis, the Georgia Restaurant Association wants the state government to eliminate payroll taxes for restaurants through the end of 2020, provide restaurants with a temporary sales tax “holiday,” and help restaurants obtain mortgage and rent abatement. Around a third of the state’s workforce consists of restaurant and retail workers, according to Kriston Capps of CityLab.

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#5. New York

- Average revenue vs. same week in 2019: -53%

Restaurants in New York State saw a loss of almost $2 billion in revenue March 1–22, according to the National Restaurant Association. By April 4, restaurants in New York City had seen an 89% year-over-year decline in revenue, according to a report from the city government.

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#4. California

- Average revenue vs. same week in 2019: -59%

California’s restaurant industry brings in more than $70 billion in revenue annually, making it the largest in the country, according to Susie Cagle of The Guardian. The state’s hospitality and leisure sectors, which include restaurants, may see a “net job loss of about 100,000,” according to economist Jerry Nickelsburg.

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#3. Nevada

- Average revenue vs. same week in 2019: -59%

Nevada had almost 6,000 restaurants and bars as of 2018, according to the Nevada Restaurant Association. Restaurants in the state were allowed to reopen on May 9 under strict guidelines, such as having employees wear face coverings, cutting capacity in half, closing bar areas and spacing tables six feet apart.

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#2. South Carolina

- Average revenue vs. same week in 2019: -59%

South Carolina has lost 156,000 restaurant jobs during the pandemic, according to data from the National Restaurant Association and the American Hotel and Lodging Association, cited in an article by David Clarey of the Free Times. State revenue losses may total $740 million from restaurants alone.

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#1. Florida

- Average revenue vs. same week in 2019: -60%

In Lee County, Florida, an area that includes Cape Coral and Fort Myers, restaurants that remained open after dining rooms closed on March 20 have seen losses of at least 90%, according to a May 2 article by Kelli Kennedy and Tamara Lush of the Associated Press. Almost 25% of unemployment claims in Osceola and Orange County came from laid-off workers in Florida’s hotel and restaurant industry, according to Chabeli Carrazana of the Orlando Sentinel.

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