NYC restaurants emerge half-empty from vaccine mandate

New York City restaurants have remained starving for diners following the end of the vaccination mandate on Monday, the latest of the pandemic restrictions that have decimated Gotham’s world-famous dining scene.

Citywide dining reservations fell 53.2 percent on Monday, the first day since August they’ve been open to all diners, compared to the same date in 2020. accordingly open table.

“Restaurants feel they have been singled out by countless confusing, meaningless and unfairly targeted mandates for the industry,” said Andrew Rigie, executive director of the NYC Hospitality Alliance. “There is still a very long road to recovery.”

Only Seattle (-54.0%) and San Francisco (-56.9%) had lower restaurant capacity than New York City. The vaccination mandate for Seattle restaurants ended March 1. San Francisco is still enforcing the policy.

Many cities across the country are already in the midst of a robust restaurant recovery, beating pre-pandemic numbers, including Nashville (+25.9%), Miami (+28.9%) and Las Vegas (44.3%) . Reservations in New York City were down as much as 72 percent as recently as late January.

062220 The Altesi Downtown restaurant (corner of Spring Street and Thompson St., NYC) is open
Altesi Downtown restaurant is part of an industry that has been hit hard by vaccination regulations.
Matthew McDermott

The number of restaurant workers in New York City fell 25.4 percent from the end of 2019 to the end of 2021. accordingly the latest figures in a report by the State Audit Office. Nationwide, the decline was only 1.6 percent.

Local restaurants remain half-empty as the federal government’s new $1.5 trillion omnibus bill includes promised $0 in aid to restaurants, sparking an outcry in a sector hit by the COVID-19 outbreak 19 policy was gutted.

“We are beyond disappointed that this massive government funding proposal ignores the needs of 177,300 neighborhood restaurants and bars affected by the pandemic,” the Independent Restaurant Coalition said this week.

Copelia dinner
Many cities across the country are already in the midst of a robust hospitality recovery.
Stephen Yang

The Biden administration handed out $26.8 billion in restaurant aid in 2021, but 72 percent of all applicants got nothing. Top-flight chefs and restaurants appeared to be relishing the federal funds, while mom-and-pop restaurants scrounged for leftovers.

“Only 30 percent of the Federal Restaurant Revitalization Fund’s dollars reached the 59 percent of businesses in[New York City’s]low- and middle-income communities,” the auditor’s report said. “The remaining 70 percent went to companies in wealthier communities.”

David Chang’s Momofuku Group, which operates elegant restaurants in New York City, Las Vegas, Los Angeles and Toronto, self fattened to $6.9 million in taxpayer money through the 2021 fund.

NYC service industry
The Biden administration distributed $26.8 billion in restaurant aid in 2021, but 72 percent of all applicants got nothing.
Matthew McDermott

Maria Morillo, the immigrant owner of Two Maria’s Pizza next to the Baruch housing projects on the Lower East Side, received just $1,816.38 — the lowest amount of any Manhattan restaurant to benefit from the fund. Most restaurant owners got $0.

“I’m disappointed,” she said at the time. “We’re trying to run a small business here. But they don’t worry about us at all.”

The new federal budget, which offers no additional relief, is “a real punch in the stomach for an industry that has hoped our elected leaders would support it in times of need,” Rigie said. NYC restaurants emerge half-empty from vaccine mandate


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