Thousands of Arizona restaurants on brink of closing due to pandemic

Thousands of restaurants across the country are shutting their doors for good due to financial losses brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, with many in Arizona on the brink of shutting down too.

Some restaurants can’t stay open even with accommodations like allowing outdoor dining and allowing 50% capacity.

The problem is, while they wait for financial relief, many are closing in the meantime.

“It is day to day for us. It is day to day," says Chris Norman, who owns Chicago Dog House in San Tan Valley.

He's been working to stay afloat since March, but now as cases rise in Arizona, his restaurant is quieter than ever.

Norman opened the restaurant in July of 2019 and was just beginning to make a profit. Now, he doesn’t know how many days he has left.

"I am going to lose the business. I am going to be held accountable for 3.5 years of rent on the lease I signed," Norman said.

He's not the only one facing these tough decisions. According to the National Restaurant Association, 110,000 restaurants will close this year due to the pandemic. This means more than 3 million people will lose their jobs.

“It is going to devastate our economy," said Danielle Leoni, the chef and co-owner of Breadfruit & Rum Bar in downtown Phoenix.

She's part of the Independent Restaurant Coalition, a group of restaurant owners all over the country working to get relief.

“This is an issue that needs to be addressed at a federal level and people can’t be expected to come into our restaurants and take that kind of risk just to fill their belly for an evening," Leoni said.

The coalition is asking for $120 billion for restaurants.