Justin McManus is the fourth generation of his family to run Peter McManus Cafe, the venerable pub and restaurant that's been on the same corner in Chelsea since 1936. McManus says even an established place like his was not immune to the troubles experienced by the restaurant industry in the city during the COVID-19 Pandemic.
What You Need To Know
- Governor Cuomo extended the curfew for dining out in NYC from 11 p.m. to midnight
- Catered Events can go until 1 a.m.
- Restaurant and Bar Owners say it's a step in the right direction but would like to stay open even later
- They would also like to allow patrons to sit at the bar for drinks and food
"There were definitely points where we didn't know going day to day, week to week, just how much we would be able to move forward," said McManus, who says the state extending the closing time for restaurants and bars from 11 p.m. to midnight it a good step in the right direction for his and other businesses in town, but he thinks the curfew could be made even later as they head into the spring and summer months.
"You know people are calling and congratulating, oh you got that extra hour, and I'm like, it's crumbs, it's not helping. It's like yeah you have the sinking ship and you just a little bit of a bigger pail but you are not actually plugging the holes," said McManus, who added that their bread and butter had been folks enjoying their drinks at the bar, something that has not been permitted under COVID-19 rules.
At Bloom's Tavern in Midtown, owner Noel Donovan has a similar take.
He said the extra hour allows them to put the equivalent of another 40 hours on their payroll, allowing them to hire back staff. Still, he doesn't see why Bloom's couldn't stay open even later as they continue to operate safely under COVID protocols.
"We need to have the bars open until 2 a.m. It's not as if you are going to catch it at 12:05 or 12:10, you are going to catch it by forcing people to have house parties, forcing people to be entertaining more at home," said Donovan.
Bloom's Regulars Mike and Tricia Coyne said they like the idea of keeping the fun going a little later too.
"We're very comfortable coming to these bars and the longer they are open the better we think," said Coyne.
Though some are who are a little more cautious.
"Let's start at midnight, and work our way up from there," said Eddie Marrero, who was having drinks and food with a friend at Peter McManus Café.