The restaurant industry, whose employees account for nearly 10% of all jobs in Virginia, has suffered from the financial turmoil created by COVID-19. At Glory Days Grill, we have felt this stress and uncertainty at our 14 locations in Virginia, including 6 restaurants in Fairfax County.
Since March, we’ve shifted our business model due to the lockdowns and the lower capacity limits to focusing more on takeout and curbside to-go customers. Our restaurants, and many others, use polystyrene food containers to serve our takeout and delivery customers. We recognize the environmental impact of these products. That is why we applaud the market-based solution that is being proposed by one of our local legislators in the Virginia General Assembly. Delegate Ken Plum, representing part of Fairfax County, has introduced a bill (HB2173) to establish advanced recycling technologies in Virginia to convert used polystyrene foam into new plastics or fuels. This legislation will support the restaurant industry and our many employees in Fairfax and across the state. This is in stark contrast to other efforts taking place in Richmond, including a bill (HB1902) to ban the polystyrene food containers helping to sustain so many restaurants during COVID-19.
In the last two years, in Maryland, where our restaurants were forced to ban Styrofoam containers and upgrade other materials, the average impact of cost per store on an annualized basis was $38,000. This is the worst time to burden restaurants with additional costs, if more sensible solutions can be found like those in HB2173.