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Staggering Map Shows Just How Many Restaurant Workers Have Been Affected by U.S. Lockdown

Nearly 10 percent of the country's workforce makes up the industry—and they're suffering from closures.
delivery bag

The COVID-19 pandemic is not only endangering healthcare providers lives, but it's also disrupted the livelihood of many businesses—particularly local restaurants.

According to the National Restaurant Association, 15.6 million people in the U.S. are restaurant industry employees—about 10 percent of the workforce. With mandated closures, it's presented a challenge for both chain restaurants and local ones alike to keep their employees on the payroll.

The New York Times recently reported that nearly 10 million people filed for unemployment insurance in the past two weeks, according to the Labor Department—at least half of which are likely those who formerly held jobs in the restaurant industry.

RELATED: Restaurant Industry Expects the Loss of 5 to 7 Million Jobs Due to Coronavirus.

Chef's Pencil, a food site that reports on trends from across the globe, gathered the most recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics of those who work in food preparation and serving occupations in each state. From there, they created a graphic that demonstrates an estimate of just how many restaurant staff in the U.S. are affected by closures. You can see how many people are affected by hovering your mouse over each red circle.

You'll notice that states with larger populations, namely California and Texas, have significant numbers of bar and kitchen staff affected by the pandemic at nearly 1.6 million and 1.2 million people, respectively. Still, those numbers are relative to the state's population. For example, the amount of people in the restaurant industry affected by closures in California make up about 4 percent of the state's overall population, however, in Hawaii, the 85,770 that are in that field of work account for 6 percent of the state's total population.

Of course, the total number of people in the restaurant industry as recorded by the BLS is nowhere near exact. As Eater points out, there are several restaurant industry employees that are undocumented, especially in large metropolitan areas such as New York City, that will not even be accounted for in the $2 trillion relief bill.

And while many restaurants are offering delivery and takeout, some chefs across the country are reconsidering having this option be available in future weeks as the virus continues to spread and not even the young and healthy are proving to be immune. Ultimately, it may not be worth the risk.

With this in mind, be sure to look up how you can support your favorite local restaurants in your area. Some restaurant owners in New York City have set up Venmo and GoFundMe accounts for donations to help support their staff during this time.

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Cheyenne Buckingham
Cheyenne Buckingham is the news editor of Eat This, Not That!, specializing in food and drink coverage, and breaking down the science behind the latest health studies and information. Read more