NYC Restaurants Sit at a Survival Crossroads

This article was written by Danny Klein with FSR Magazine.

The cut-throat nature of New York City’s real estate market made it difficult for small businesses to thrive even before the pandemic. But it was a high-risk, alluringly high-reward arena that attracted some of the most diverse options in America, if not globally.

Today’s reality, however, presents a devastating blend of regulations, high-priced barriers, and a city that remains cautious with its COVID-19 response.

According to a September survey from the New York State Restaurant Association, as many as two-thirds of the state’s restaurants could permanently close by year’s end without additional government aid. The New York Times estimated at least 1,000 eating and drinking establishments have gone dark already.

In the NYSRA’s survey of 1,000-plus operators, 55 percent of those who expect to close believe they’ll do so before November. Only 35 percent expect to remain in business come January.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has kept indoor dining off limits in NYC since March. It’s scheduled to resume at 25 percent occupancy September 30. November 1 will then be the deadline for officials to decide whether the Big Apple should progress to 50 percent capacity.

NYC remains the only municipality in the Tri-State area with barred indoor dining. Connecticut allowed dine-in traffic in June and New Jersey returned September 4.

This has been a contentious point, to put it lightly. At the beginning of September, a group of restaurant owners filed a $2 billion class-action lawsuit against government officials in an attempt to force their hand.

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