Representatives of New Hampshire's hospitality industry said Friday they will need a new round of federal coronavirus funding as outdoor dining ends and there's no active business travel.
"The next three, four, five months is really going to be the toughest stretch," said Mike Somers, CEO and president of the New Hampshire Lodging & Restaurant Association, during a virtual meeting with U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen.
Tom Boucher, CEO of Great New Hampshire Restaurants, said outdoor dining accounted for about 35% of his restaurants' revenue in the third quarter. But business was down at about 30% at every location this week, and more losses are expected, he said.
"That's it — it's over now, until it gets warm again," he said.
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Boucher said his company will have spent $500,000 on COVID-19-related expenses by the end of this year on items such as air purifiers and dividers.
He said a belief that people should avoid restaurants for fear of coming down with the coronavirus is damaging the industry. "There's no data or facts to support it," he said.
Steve Duprey, who owns the Grappone Conference Center in Concord, said the business did just under $3.5 million in 2019, but only projects $600,000 for 2021. Some workers have been kept on, but 100 have been let go, he said. Duprey said he would favor a change in a Small Business Administration program to allow hotels and restaurants to get long-term, low-interest rate financing.
Nearly 14,000 people in New Hampshire have tested positive for the virus since the start of the pandemic. The state announced 462 new cases Friday. Three deaths were announced, bringing the total to 498.
The seven-day rolling average of daily new cases in New Hampshire has risen over the past two weeks from 111 new cases per day on Oct. 29 to 237 new cases per day on Nov. 12.