Starting on Friday, restaurants, bars, and gyms across the state will have to close every night at 10 p.m., due to the sharp rise in COVID-19 cases.
Melissa Fleischut, president and CEO of the New York State Restaurant Association, says these businesses are concerned with what this means moving forward.
“They’re really concerned that is just going to be delivery and take out as we go forward,” Fleischut explained. “Are we going to see the numbers keep going up? Are there going to be more shutdowns coming? Lots of uncertainty at this point.”
Indoor dining for upstate restaurants and bars is still capped at 50% capacity.
During the summer, outdoor dining helped businesses struggling to get back on their feet after being closed for months.
But now that the weather is dropping again, fewer people want to eat outside.
Fleischut says restaurants have been in support of the micro-cluster strategy, imposing restrictions on just certain regions seeing spikes in COVID-19 cases.
But now these new rules will affect everyone in the state.
“To have this blanket wide situation where we’re all going to have to close at 10 p.m. is going to be very difficult for the industry, with a lack of additional funding,” Fleischut said.
Greg Biryla with the National Federation of Independent Business says a recent survey showed that 20% of small businesses in New York do not expect to make it the next six months without additional funding.
“What’s most concerning from our perspective from the announcement yesterday, about the new restrictions, is that it’s placed on businesses that have been hurting the most namely restaurants, food service, fitness,” Biryla explained. “These were businesses that were shut down the longest.”
However, Biryla says hopefully these new restrictions can prevent a complete shutdown of the state’s economy.
“You will put so many businesses out and under with another statewide shut down,” Biryla continued. “Along with those businesses will go jobs and in some respects the communities they support.”
With the state struggling with a massive budget deficit, state officials have said any sort of financial support for businesses would have to come from the federal government.
And with things in limbo in the U.S. Senate, it is unclear when another stimulus deal will be reached.
Restaurants and bars will be allowed to serve food to-go after 10 p.m., but not alcohol.