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NYC restaurants fear a 'difficult' new shutdown

EconomyNov 23, 2020 02:15PM ET
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"It's going to be almost impossible to survive at the end of the year."

Restaurant Owner Gianfranco Sorrentino is expressing the fear gripping dining establishments all across New York City as the industry braces for the possibility of another shutdown of indoor dining.

Rising COVID-19 infections have already prompted local officials to shut down schools and switch to remote learning… restaurants fear they could be next.

NYC Mayor Bill DeBlasio said recently that he expects the state to shut down indoor dining in his city within "a week or two" given the current rate of infections.

The blow could be particularly hard for restaurants as they head into what is typically peak season, when families gather at restaurants to celebrate the holidays.

IL GATTOPARDO RESTAURANT OWNER GIANFRANCO SORRENTINO:

"I do understand that there is a problem with the safety of the people, that we should shut down, at least at the indoor. But only with outdoor, especially now that is cold, is getting through the winter and the with the delivery and pick up, especially here in Midtown, that is not a residential area, it's going to be very difficult."

Restaurants have barely gotten back on their feet after being closed for indoor dining for six months, only allowed to reopen dining rooms in September with severely reduced capacity.

Some patrons, while understanding the need to protect the public and limit virus spread, don't see why restaurants have to shut down after complying with all the new safety measures put in place.

NEW YORK RESIDENT PAUL ROWE:

"I believe there's a way to do it safely. And we shouldn't just shut them down."

NEW YORK RESIDENT ZBIGNIEW CHRZANOWSKI:

"I think if we take the measure, like measuring the temperature and social distancing, we should be safe."

NEW YORK RESIDENT MAREK SKULIMOWSKI:

"I think the staff of each restaurant can take a proper care to sit people properly or check them at the entrance, like at the airports, whatever. So, it needs to be reconsidered, I think."

Any shutdown will have another negative effect on the local economy - more joblessness. At 13.2 percent in October, New York City's unemployment rate is nearly double the national average.

And without any new federal stimulus in the pipeline to help soften the blow like it did back in the spring, there's a real fear among New Yorkers that there favorite restaurants might not be around when a number of promising vaccine makes it safer to dine in again.

NYC restaurants fear a 'difficult' new shutdown
 

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