Restaurants in the Utica-Rome area are having a tough time. Maybe not all of them, but your local, independently-owned are definitely facing challenges due to COVID. You can help them out - just by eating.

Across the United States, over 110,000 restaurants have been forced to close forever or over the long-term - representing 1 in 6 restaurants. Fast food restaurants have fared a bit better as people avoid inside dining and opt for the drive-thru.

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Locally, several restaurants in the Mohawk Valley and Syracuse have been forced to close, and with Governor Cuomo threatening to cut restaurant capacity to a little as 25% if hospitalization rates don't stabilize, things are getting tough for restaurants.

This time of year is usually a good one for restaurants. Now is when they're usually hosting holiday parties and extra dinners - but this year, everything is changed.

Your purchase could be the difference between life and death for your favorite restaurant. Order take-out, and not through an app like DoorDash or UberEats who take a big cut of the sale, or get a gift certificate - not only does it make a great gift, it'll give the restaurant some much needed cash right now.

Now, more that ever, we're going to decide which businesses are still standing when this pandemic is over - so take the time to spend some of your dollars at your favorite restaurant. You can be the difference between closing and survival for your favorite eatery.

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