MACON, Ga. — It has been more than a year since the COVID-19 pandemic changed the way we live.
One of the hardest-hit industries and one trying to bounce back is the restaurant business. Experts say, as of December, more than 110,000 eating and drinking places closed temporarily or for good, but more federal funding could be on the way for restaurants and small businesses who need it.
The dining room at Kudzu Seafood is now open, but this time last year, owner Lee Clack says it looked much different.
"When we reopened doing curbside, we did it from Thursday through Saturday, lunch and dinner, wow we were doing maybe about 15 percent of our normal revenue, that's all we could generate," says Clack.
After initially having to close for two weeks due to state COVID-19 restrictions, Clack says they slowly moved to curbside and then indoor dining.
He says even when dining was allowed again, the highest revenue they were able to reach was about 45 percent.
"Undoubtedly, without the assistance from the government, we would not have been able to stay open. We've been able to just maintain. I've taken advantage of most everything I could get, so I got both PPP fundings and the emergency disaster loan," he says.
Clack says he plans to also take advantage of the restaurant revitalization fund, a new program for restaurants, bars, bakeries, and more who experienced pandemic-related revenue loss.
Businesses can use these funds for rent payments, utilities, maintenance, and more.
Clack says the Poplar Street location opened only months before the pandemic, and the rooftop deck opened in December 2020.
He says with restrictions dropped and the help from the government, they're starting to get back to normal.
"Our weekends are almost pre-COVID -- I mean, we're running good numbers on the weekends. Our weekdays are still a little down," he says.
Clack says with the summer months approaching, he is hoping to get more use out of the rooftop bar.