A state order forcing restaurants in coronavirus hot spots to dial back reopening efforts could prove fatal for some establishments already struggling with operations.
“We’re just going to continue to see more and more closures of restaurants, the loss of more jobs. I mean, people just spent whatever money they could find to try to open up, people got hired back to go back to work, they may have been out of work for six months, and now — bam — we’re closed again,” said Andrew Rigie, executive director of the New York City Hospitality Alliance.
Under Gov. Andrew Cuomo's new rules, establishments in “red zones,” where cases are spiking most, will only be able to offer takeout, while other zones just outside the hotspots must scale back on indoor and outdoor dining depending on the severity of COVID-19 cases in their area.
This comes just a week after restaurants reopened for indoor dining.
But the losses won’t just come from closures. In an interview with NY1, Rigie said the move will give customers uneasiness about dining out.
“[Restaurants are] having the added on pressure of the consumers not being comfortable going out and eating. And each time we see a setback like this, it’s going to give the dining public less confidence to go out and eat,” he said.
Rigie is calling on New Yorkers to continue following social distancing and mask-wearing guidelines to contain the spread and allow the city to get back on its feet. He said local establishments also need financial support to do so.
“These spikes and infections are not coming from restaurants,” said Rigie. “That’s why we have to ensure we get the type of support to our small businesses, to our local restaurants, that they need so they can hopefully weather through the storm.”