Friday cannot come soon enough for some business owners in upstate New York.
Four regions will be allowed to start Phase 1 of the reopening process, which is construction companies, manufacturing companies and select retail that can provide curb-side pickup.
What You Need To Know
- Restaurants and bars are in Phase 3 of reopening
- Food prices have been increasing
- Sales tax payments are due later in the month
Although restaurants and bars do not reopen until the third phase, business leaders are encouraged to start developing ways they can safely reopen in this “new normal.”
But it’s not as easy as it sounds.
Patrick Noonan, owner of El Loco Mexican Cafe, said there are added costs he has to factor into his plan.
“When you get into, okay we’re back to normal operating hours or a full menu,” Noonan explained. “And we’ve got take out and delivery and we’ve got extra containers and packaging and you’ve got all this other protective equipment to factor in, all of a sudden, your costs are going through the roof.”
Noonan said for his restaurant at least, he might stick with takeout for a time until he knows he can balance both takeout and dine-in costs.
His concerns are shared by business owners across the state, many who shared similar expense concerns during a State Joint Legislative hearing on Wednesday.
Not only will business owners have to supply their employees with personal protective equipment, food prices have also been increasing.
“Beef is almost $7 a pound right now. I went to two different stores looking for green peppers today,” Noonan said. “So that’s more of our concern is more, what is this going to look like from a trickle down effect. What farms are producing what farms aren’t."
Ken Goldberg, who is representing the hospitality industry for Governor Andrew Cuomo's New York Forward Re-Opening Advisory Board and is the president of the Amusement and Music Owners Association of New York, said he is proposing some ways restaurants can possibly reopen outdoors while maintaining safety precautions
“Close the streets and drink and dine on the sidewalks, it’s perfect,” Goldberg said. “The bar owners, the restaurants they can take their furniture out for the day.”
But as New York’s "On Pause" order continues to stretch on, Goldberg said he is worried about sales tax payments that are due later in the month for restaurant and bar owners.
“The governor was good enough to defer it, March’s payment but now its due in May,” explained Goldberg. “And if they couldn’t pay it in March, how are they going to pay it in May if they haven’t been open.”
Noonan also said he hopes there are legislative ways lawmakers can step in to help business owners with things like health insurance costs for employees and utility payments.
“We need to get those people back to an operating level which they’re comfortable,” Noonan continued. “And know they can make a living and make everyone happy because right now its not looking too good.”
Noonan said he hopes they can continue alcohol to go orders once restrictions are lifted, since this has helped provide a much needed pad in revenue for his business during this shutdown.