Back in March AppleEats’s Tim Gilberto delivered some grim news. Some 3% of restaurants nationally had closed permanently, he reported, while another 8% feared having to close their doors within the next 30 days.

By August, the situation had grown dramatically worse. As I wrote at the time, 83% of restaurants were unable to cover their entire rent bill for July, and 37% paid no rent at all.

Which brings us to the latest news. On Thursday, New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli released the results of an audit of New York City restaurants that determined that as many as 50% might be forced to permanently shutter in next 6 months.

“From furloughs and layoffs to businesses forever closed,” CBS New York wrote, “government COVID-19 restrictions are choking the economy of New York City, especially its bars and restaurants.”

Business owners are demanding more federal funding — grants and loans — and from the city and the state even more of a relaxing of the restrictions.

“We as the leaders in government owe it to them to use this report and make sure that we are passing legislation, that we are pushing the mayor and every single elected to do their job,” Assembly member Catalina Cruz said.

Even if the government comes through with the needed funds, will it be enough to save the once-thriving industry of one of the world’s foremost restaurant cities?

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