As I wrote yesterday, New York restaurants will be permitted to serve patrons inside the restaurant beginning Sept. 30. While many dedicated foodies are relieved at the news of the chance to dine in-house again, restaurateurs who have survived the long hot drought are not exactly jumping with joy over the many restrictions outlined in the governor’s proposal.
UPDATE: On September 30, indoor dining in NYC can resume at 25% capacity.
Strict restrictions will be in place. pic.twitter.com/ORzwGM67PQ
— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) September 9, 2020
Fox Business News explains:
But after six months of shutdowns, with restaurants relying on delivery only or outdoor seating coupled with staff layoffs and inability to pay rent, owners say the move is too little too late.
“It’s not going to fix the problem,” Eytan Sugarman, owner of West Village bar and restaurant White Horse Tavern, which opened in 1880 and bills itself as the second-oldest bar in New York City.
“No one that has a full-service restaurant can operate at 25% capacity without a loss.”
More than 150 restaurants and bars have closed since the beginning of the pandemic in March and there have been around 70 shutdowns in the month of August alone, Eater reported. And capacity restraints have made it impossible for many restaurant owners to afford to pay rent. Nearly 40% of owners surveyed by the New York City Hospitality alliance said they couldn’t pay rent for the month of July.
The 25% capacity ceiling seems to be the biggest flash point for business owners. Those who have been able to keep their doors open have nevertheless had a rough time making ends meet based on delivery and outdoor dining alone. Being limited to a quarter their normal revenue may prove the last straw for many more restaurants.