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'The Brink Of Devastation:' Local Restaurants Struggling To Hang On During Pandemic

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - Is your favorite restaurant closed and will it ever reopen? That is a very real question for a growing number of restaurants in our region.

We have talked a lot about flattening the COVID curve but the restaurant closing curve is on an upward climb with no end in sight.

Emily Catalano's website has been following the opening and closing trends in the Pittsburgh Restaurant scene.

"It is on the brink of devastation honestly," she said. "Things were going so great in Pittsburgh. It was a growing restaurant scene lots of new places opening up and this has just devastated everybody. There have been places that have pivoted and turned to take out and dinner kits and interesting stuff but I have not talked to a restaurateur or a chef who has not been impacted in a major major way."

Under the current restrictions, restaurants can only seat 25 percent of their occupancy permit and Catalano says that's not sustainable. The only question is how many restaurants are going to fold, "A conservative estimate is 30%. That will not survive and on the large end people are thinking it could be 50% of restaurants."

Patronizing local take outs helps, Catalano says, but for the restaurants, it is barely enough to stem the bleeding but not enough to survive long term.

As for Pittsburgh's Foodie reputation Catalano says, "I am still encouraged because in the midst of all this there are still restaurants opening. Believe it or not, we are still reporting on restaurant openings with some really good chefs too. Some interesting places. I think that things are going to change in the long term. The restaurants may be more fast-casual and take out, but our foodie reputation will survive."

From the bigger restaurants to the mom and pops everyone is being impacted and it's just a matter of time to see who will still be standing on the other side of COVID.

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