Some local restaurants may never recover from coronavirus outbreak

Local restaurants are struggling to stay open with carry-out only options during the COVID-19 pandemic. (WTHR)
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NOBLESVILLE, Ind. (WTHR) — In the 10 years that Debbi Bourgerie has owned Rosie’s Place restaurants in Noblesville and Zionsville, she has never had to deal with anything close to the financial burden brought on by the shuttering of her dining areas because of the coronavirus outbreak.

“Not remotely close,” Debbi said.

Bourgerie said her business has dipped as much as 95 percent since she’s had to go to only carry-out and delivery food service last week.

“When the mandate came down for everyone to stop dining in, we’ve had very little sleep,” she said. “Everybody’s been working around the clock trying to figure out how we’re going to take care of our Rosie’s family and our community. This is not just a place where people come eat breakfast. It’s where everybody in Noblesville gathers. The fact that they can’t even get together to talk about what’s going on at this point, I think has been very difficult for people.”

All over the country, small “Main Street restaurants” like Rosie’s Place are feeling this once-in-a-generation pinch. Of the 1 million restaurants in America, about two-thirds are independent restaurants. These are the eateries that may not survive if the coronavirus lockdown extends into summer.

Bourgerie said Rosie’s Place could not survive until June under the current restrictions and said "you can't fathom it" when thinking about the prospect of closing her doors forever.

According to The New York Times, restaurant analysts estimate 75 percent of the independent restaurants that have been closed to protect Americans from the coronavirus won’t make it. The National Restaurant Association claims the entire restaurant industry would lose $225 billion in the coming three months, while at the same time getting rid of 5 to 7 million employees.

That’s the part that cuts the deepest for Bourgerie.

“We’re not able to continue to pay everyone when there’s no income,” she said. “We’re going to do what we can for our employees and the community for as long as we can.”