The renewal of indoor eating restrictions in New York City amid rising coronavirus infections could deal a crippling financial blow to restaurants and their workers and should receive financial support, an industry group said Friday.
The NYC Hospitality Alliance made the plea when Mayor Bill de Blasio said Friday he expected the state to impose restrictions in the city during the first week of December that would restrict restaurants to al fresco dining.
The alliance hadn’t seen any contact tracing data showing indoor eating, which resumed under strict restrictions this fall, recently caused infection, managing director Andrew Rigie said.
“(A) and struggling small business owners and their employees should not be the left holding the bag as the standard reaction without rightly being compensated,” Rigie said in a statement.
He called on the city, state and federal government to support entrepreneurs and employees financially.
“We’re going on vacation and are tens of thousands and shutter businesses laid off? We have to support them,” Rigie said.
Restaurants were among the hardest hit companies when New York City became a pandemic hotspot in March. Nearly 150,000 industrial workers are unemployed, and another shutdown could result in 90,000 New Yorkers potentially losing their jobs again, Rigie said.
Andrew Siff and Gaby Acevedo report on the coronavirus pandemic.
Nationwide, the leisure and hospitality industry fell by almost 330,000 jobs compared to last October. The state’s unemployment rate in October was 9.6 percent and that of the city was 13.2 percent.
De Blasio, who spoke on WNYC, said restrictions are needed before the situation gets worse.
“When you think of the restaurants, when you think of the gyms, thank goodness they’re not an integral part of the problem,” he said. “But the speed at which things are going could unfortunately be good.”
Governor Andrew Cuomo said Friday that New York City failed to score 3 percent overall positive tests on a seven-day moving average – its main metric for dividing areas of the state into orange zones that include schools, indoor restaurants, and risky, non-essential businesses like gyms are closed.
It looks like restaurants and bars are next on the chopping block for New York City via Governor Andrew Cuomo as COVID cases continue to rise in the city. According to Mayor Bill de Blasio, the procedure could come soon. Katherine Creag reports.
But he said it was possible his government could designate communities like Staten Island as an orange zone.
Staten Island reported that since Nov. 8, at least 3 percent of tests have been positive on a moving average of seven days.
New York reported 5,468 new positive results on Thursday – the highest in a single day since 5,902 on April 25.
The state has recorded an average of 4,835 new positive and nearly 25 new cases per 100,000 population over the past seven days. Those numbers have doubled in two weeks.
In New York, an average of 2.9 percent of tests scored positive in the past seven days, while hospitals treated an average of 2,080 patients. Both numbers are up 70 percent from two weeks ago.
Cuomo stressed that New York is running more tests than many other states and that hospital admissions are well below the April peak of over 18,000 simultaneous COVID-19 patients.