Businesses, including restaurant and bar industry, continue to suffer

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DAVENPORT, Iowa (KWQC) - All industries are feeling the impacts of the novel coronavirus, including bars and restaurants.

A survey by the Iowa Restaurant Association of 670 establishments across the state found revenues for bars and restaurants were down 84 percent in March compared to a year ago.

That survey found 91 percent of bars in Iowa are currently closed and 82 percent of restaurants have laid off at least some of their workers, since Gov. Kim Reynolds announced restrictions on March 17.

Restaurants around Iowa, including here in the Quad Cities Area, had to make quick decisions for the future of their business.

Me & Billy has been a fixture in Downtown Davenport since November 2013. The owners made the tough decision to temporarily close until the threat of COVID-19 passes.

"We're trying to stay positive. It's definitely uncharted territory," Fran Maus, Co-owner of Me & Billy, said "A big part of our business is our event space, so we knew without that being open, it just didn't make sense for us to do carry out. So we made the decision to close."

During this time, they are working on things behind the scenes, including a new menu, but they remain eager to get their employees back to work.

"Everybody knows that they have a job with us when we open back up, so I think that's the most important part," Maus said as she tries to remain positive, "I need to step away from the news sometimes and take a breather, go out for a walk, and clear my head. Yes of course these are scary times, but I think because we're a family business we have each other to rely on and that really helps a lot."

During this time, they remain thankful for the support of their customers, but also from other businesses going through the same thing.

"QC Custom Tees reached out and offered to do some T-shirts for us. I know they are doing it for a lot of other businesses that are closed. And so they are selling T-shirts and giving us a portion of the proceeds. We've sold a lot of gift cards and things like that online. So we are so thankful for all of the support that we've received," Maus said.

As they shift events on the calendar, complete their new menu, and mix up new cocktails, they are waiting for the day of reopening their doors with hopes of returning stronger than ever.

"We just want to be ready to go right when we get the word to say go," Maus said.

Since statewide closures went into effect, accommodation and food service workers have filed the most unemployment claims in Iowa. An initial prediction from the Iowa Restaurant Association estimates 20 percent of operators may not recover.