CRANSTON – Nearly 40% of hospitality businesses in Rhode Island experienced a revenue loss of over 50% in July as the COVID-19 pandemic slammed the sector with state restrictions and a decline in travelers, according to a survey conducted by the Rhode Island Hospitality Association.
The survey found that 21% of respondents, which include owners of restaurants, banquet halls, media and performing arts centers, experienced more than a 70% decline in revenue year over year in July, while another 18% reported a decline of between 51% and 60%.
RIHA’s survey found that 92% of businesses surveyed have reopened, but 18% said that they have not been able to rehire staff due to lost revenue or have not rehired for fear that they will have to layoff staff soon.
The results were based on responses from 74 businesses between Aug. 17 and 24.
“While we’re still in the midst of challenging circumstances, it’s still disappointing to see so many businesses across Rhode Island struggling financially,” said Dale J. Venturini, CEO and president of the Rhode Island Hospitality Association. “We hope that as restrictions continue to lift, consumers will feel more comfortable visiting our restaurants and hotels, and that those struggling to find work will look to the hospitality industry for employment opportunities.”
The survey also found that 33% of respondents voiced concern about competing with unemployment insurance, believing potential hires would rather collect enhanced benefits than return to work.
RIHA said more than half of eligible respondents also applied for RestoreRI grant funding offered through the R.I. Commerce Corp.
RIHA noted that hotel occupancy rate in Rhode Island in June had declined 35.1 percentage points year over year to 40.2%.
Nationally, nearly one in six restaurants are either closed for the long term or permanently due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to figures from a National Restaurant Association survey. The industry is projected to lose $240 billion in sales by the end of the year, the association said.
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