Over 60 percent of restaurants in New York are likely to close by the end of the year. That comes from a survey conducted by the New York State Restaurant Association painting a grim picture for the future of the restaurant and bar industry in the state. The key findings:
- 6% of restaurants said they are likely or somewhat likely to close by the end of the year without some form of financial relief; just 36.4% said they are likely or somewhat likely to remain open.
- Of those who are likely to close, 54.8% will be forced to shut their doors before November.
When asked in a previous survey what the government could do to help their businesses to survive the pandemic, the top answers were:
- Provide commercial rent relief
- Insist that business interruption insurance claims are paid
- Increase the capacity for indoor dining, and allow for indoor dining in New York City
The issue of indoor dining in New York City is a big one, especially as a more indoor activity has resumed in the city. Furthermore, indoor dining is permitted in every other part of the state (at 50 percent capacity) as well as New Jersey (at 25 percent capacity). As such a group of over 300 restaurants in NYC filed a $2 billion class action lawsuit against the state and city hoping the legal action can force the return of indoor dining. Gym owners used a similar tactic to force the state to allow them to reopen. The restaurant lawsuit is being supported by City Council Member Mark Gjonaj, who chairs the Committee on Small Business and created a Change.org petition for extra pressure.
New York restaurants saw an estimated loss of $1.9 billion in sales and around 80% of the workforce had been laid off or furloughed since the beginning of March, totaling 527,000 jobs. The industry is facing a doomsday scenario without government help, the first step is to allow them to resume indoor dining (NYC) and expand capacity.
UPDATE: Indoor dining may resume in New York City on September 30th at 25 percent capacity. All patrons must have their temperature checked at the door. One member of each party may be required to provide contact info for tracing. There can be no service after midnight. There can be no bar service. Masks must be worn when not seated at a table. The tables must be 6 feet apart. The establishment must have enhanced air filtration, ventilation, and purification standards.