A new survey paints a sad picture about the state of the restaurant industry. Few businesses have been as hard hit as dining establishments during the pandemic. The survey by the National Restaurant Foundation shows just how hard hit Wisconsin’s restaurants have been for the past year. 83% say their business was down over the past year, by an average of 30%. Most restaurant owners do not expect a return to normal business conditions any time soon. 33% think it will be a year before business conditions return to normal. 29% think it will be more than a year. 13% say they may have to close within the next three months without additional relief from the federal government. It is not just the restaurant owners who have been suffering. Many have laid off staff, and according to the survey, don’t plan to expand their payrolls any time soon. That is why it is good that the city of La Crosse is extending local restaurant owners a hand. An effort to extend the outdoor dining licenses for at least another 8 months is likely to win approval from the city council. They also have significantly reduced the cost of liquor licenses to help our restaurants survive. La Crosse’s city hall isn’t often know for its flexibility or its compassion, so it is good to see that our local government is doing what it can to help our restaurants survive the pandemic.