If you love a certain bar or restaurant in New York City, you better enjoy it while you can, as a stunning new audit released today claims there’s a 50% chance it may be closed for good in the next six months.
The audit released by state comptroller Thomas DiNapoli estimates that half of all New York City bars and restaurants could be forced into closure in the coming months. The report paints a bleak picture for what is usually one of the city’s most thriving industries. The report states, “The COVID-19 pandemic has affected this sector to an unprecedented extent and in ways that have never been seen before. It has impacted individuals’ jobs and income, business owners, restaurant patrons and neighborhoods.”
If the closures were to rise to 50%, the report estimates nearly 12,000 restaurants would close permanently causing job losses of close to 160,000. The report comes just one day after the state began allowing reduced-capacity dining indoors, at 25% of the normal rate. Mask mandates, temperature checks and contact tracing rules are all still active in the city at this time.
Aki Liiopoulos, owner of Staten Island Diner told CBS New York just how dire the situation has become. “Twenty five percent is not going to cut it. That’s 15 people in here,” Liiopoulos said, adding that he normally would have 60. “It’s in the negative. Every day, we’re in the negative.”
Before the pandemic, the city’s drinking and dining scene was thriving with close to 24,000 establishments, which provided almost 320,000 jobs. Most bars and restaurants survived through the summer by setting up outdoor dining, but now as the restrictions start to loosen up, the industry is still feeling the pinch.