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Experts say 10% Texas restaurants won't survive COVID-19; a virtual fundraiser hopes to help

One in 10 restaurants has or will close for good because of COVID-19, according to the Texas Restaurant Association.

ARLINGTON, Texas — A unique live-stream cookout hopes to slow the alarming number of restaurants closing because of COVID-19.

The Taste of Texas Dishing Out Relief fundraiser brings together Gov. Greg Abbott, musicians and area chefs for a live virtual cookout, streamed on the Billy Bobs Texas Facebook page Saturday. 

“This is a challenging time for all Texans, especially restaurant workers,” Abbott said. “Texans are resilient and always up to helping others in need.”

The fundraiser comes days after the Texas Restaurant Association received the results of a statewide survey on the impact of COVID-19.

“At our last estimate, there’s roughly a third of restaurants in Texas that have chosen to temporarily close,” said Joe Monastero, chief strategy and operations officer for the TRA. “Nearly 10% that have closed permanently and will not re-open.”

RELATED: Fort Worth's Bird Cafe is the latest coronavirus economy casualty

Saturday’s fundraiser benefits the Texas Restaurant Relief Fund, which Monastero said has raised $2.2 million since the end of March to help restaurant workers pay the bills but also help keep the businesses afloat. 

“If these restaurants don’t survive, and reopen at full strength, there’s no place for those employees to go back to when this is all over,” Monastero said.

Saturday’s fundraiser will feature live music, auctions and cooking segments from area chefs like Kent Rathbun of Dallas. Viewers will be able to donate before, during and after the live event.

“I’m saying to everybody in Texas who can do this, give and give what you can and help these people that are in trouble right now,” Rathbun said.

Click here to donate to the Texas Restaurant Relief Fund.

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