By Team

MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Eleven point five percent of restaurants have shut down permanently since the coronavirus pandemic started, according to research company Datassential. Places that are open face major challenges, including a lack of workers, higher costs, and delivery delays.

Sean Kennedy with the National Restaurant Association is asking Congress to deliver another round of relief to the Restaurant Revitalization Fund.

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“Restaurants are still dealing with a crushing amount of debt that they’ve taken on over the past 15 months when they were forced to be closed,” he said  “This project could be an absolute lifeline for the restaurant industry, the nation’s second-largest private sector employer.”

Sabrina Hulm and her husband Craig Henry followed their dream to start JoJo’s Colorado Barbecue in Fort Collins, CO. But just as they opened their doors last year, growing coronavirus cases shut down much of the economy.

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“It got a little scarier and scarier as each day went by, the news changed,” Henry said. They had to close their small dining area, focusing instead on delivery and take out. “Our growth might be low and slow, but we’re just grateful to be here and we’re grateful to have a business,” said Hulm.

JoJo’s is housed inside Munchies Food Market, which allowed them to stay open through the pandemic when so many others could not survive. The restaurant is dealing with rising prices for meat, but they hope business will pick up now that Americans are experiencing a new taste of normalcy.

The hardest hit sector of the restaurant industry is food trucks.

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Nearly one out of every four were forced to shut down permanently, according to Datassential. Team