The long-term impact of coronavirus-related restaurant closures

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Restaurants are starting to feel the pinch of some of the coronavirus-related restrictions they've had to enact. 

Judy Ni of Baology, a modern Taiwanese restaurant on the Parkway, says the way business owners have had to adjust to the coronavirus pandemic will likely impact the entire restaurant industry well after businesses are allowed to reopen for dine-in service —if they are able to stay afloat that long.

Ben Fileccia with the Pennsylvania Restaurant and Lodging Association says for restaurants, taxes are due this month.

"Most people submit their sales tax on the 20th or their liquor tax on the 20th, and the decision right now is, do I keep that money to cover payroll or to cover rent?" he explained.

While Ni says she's in the process of changing her business model to focus on delivery service, this is not feasible for all restaurants.

"We're going to see a level of closings that is not something that we've seen in our lives. I really hope I'm wrong about this,” she said. 

Ni says when businesses can't make ends meet, sometimes they have no choice but to close.

"And the number of restaurants that I know that have already laid people off already is staggering,” she added.

Meanwhile, Gov. Tom Wolf has requested a disaster declaration for small Pennsylvania businesses and nonprofits to make it easier for them to obtain loans. Ni agrees that's a good start.

"Because the tax revenue that we bring is significant,” she said.