The Twin Cities saw record restaurant closures in 2020 thanks to the lockdowns

Yesterday, the Star Tribune reported the number of restaurants that closed in the twin cities. And according to the data,  in 2020 the Twin cities have seen at least 94 restaurants close (the ones recorded), nearly 3 times the number of closings that Star Tribune reported in 2019.

The pandemic, along with massive restrictions that were famously focused on the restaurant industry managed to bulldoze multiple establishments out of business. It did not help that in 2020, the twin cities also saw looting and destruction from riots as well as a rise in crime.

According to the numbers,  the majority of the closures happened during the initial lockdown period.  For instance, in May alone, 25 restaurants closed. And half of the closures happened in the four months of the initial lockdown (March, April, May, and June).

Jan 5
Feb 1
March 4
April 8
May 25
June 10
July 9
August 6
Sept 5
Oct 7
Nov 5
Dec 9

Source: Star Tribune

It is easy to see why the restaurant industry has been so heavily affected. In March, when Governor Walz initiated the first lockdown, service businesses were the first to close. However, they were also the last to open in June, albeit with strict restrictions that have remained in place to date.

Evidence from other establishments like liquor stores that saw record-high sales illustrate just how damaging the lockdowns was on affected industries. They curbed consumer choice and pushed customers instead to spend on businesses that were open not out of choice. In the end, other businesses that lost revenue from closures could not survive.

As I wrote recently, no evidence supports lockdown. A clearer relationship exists between levels of lockdown stringency and unemployment than do between the level of lockdown stringency and Covid-19 outcomes. Yet despite the wreckage that the state of Minnesota has already faced, evidenced partly by record restaurant closures, the state continues to take stringent measures to ensure no businesses survive by the time lockdown orders are lifted.