Ahmad Atif has been selling hotdogs in Times Square for a quarter century. He says business has taken one of its quickest turns for the worse in the last week.
“Forty-five percent down from the income, 45 percent down from the week before last,” he says.
The cause, he says, is clear: the coronavirus.
“Everybody see somebody with these mask they feel worried,” said Atif.
The Crossroads of the World is usually teeming with tourists, theatergoers and people heading to and from work. But the cheerful chaos of Times Square has gaven way to a kind of calm.
Foot traffic is down on the Highline as well. Vendors there say it's almost not worth working but they have no choice.
Chinatown felt the first dip in tourist traffic, after coronavirus emerged as a big problem in China. As the virus has spread, so has the impact on tourism across the city.
“They’re all really taking a hit,” said Emma Guest-Consales, president of The Guides Association of New York City.
Consales represents almost 400 licensed tour guides. She says 51 of them reported the cancellation of tours in the last week because of the virus. One guide lost $4,000 in business. This, as their busy season begins.
“Guides who would be booked right through May and June are completely open, and that’s going to be a real hardship for them,” said Guest-Consales.
The Broadway League says it's too soon to know if the coronavirus is taking a toll on ticket sales, but attendance has begun to slip.
Box office receipts for “Disney's The Lion King” dipped by nearly a quarter-million dollars in the last week.
One way to track tourism is through hotel room stays. STR is a company that monitors occupancy rates.
"So far the impact has been limited to hotels around the major airports," said Jan Freitag, Senior Vice President of STR.
Room demand around LaGuardia started falling the week of Feb. 8th and continued dropping 1 to 6 percent every week.
Demand around Newark Liberty International Airport fell 12 percent for the week ending February 29th.
JFK hotel demand has increased, although that's expected to fall as well.
STR releases new data Wednesday and Thursday for the week that ends March 7th. We'll bring you the new numbers.