Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Impact of coronavirus concerns at local restaurants

[Photo of Nowon Chef Jae Lee by Stacie Joy]

Eater posts a long read on the impact that the coronavirus fears are having on the city's dining scene.

Here's an excerpt featuring East Village restaurateurs:

Jae Lee, of casual new East Village Korean restaurant Nowon, says business started going down about three weeks ago and has tapered since then, but it’s “not detrimental.”

Sakura Yagi of T.I.C., the restaurant group behind popular downtown Japanese spots such as Sobaya, says though foot traffic is “visibly lower” and some big groups have canceled, many people seem to be coming out “to maintain a sense of normalcy.”

Still, some worry that even a small dip is a sign of more to come. East Village impresario Ravi DeRossi — who owns 15 restaurants and bars, from the more formal Avant Garden to hit cocktail bars like Death & Co — says over the weekend, a quarter of reservations canceled day-of, with some saying they’re concerned about being in public places and others worried about not feeling well.

“This was the first weekend,” he says. “My feeling is every weekend, it’s going to get worse and worse.”

Read the full article at this link.


Anonymous said...

My office just shut down for the rest of the month. This will affect all the surrounding eateries where people get their breakfast and lunch. The whole situation will have a domino effect. Sad, but it's going to get worse.

Anonymous said...

Yeap. I feel bad for any business owner in the city already with the terrible rents, etc, and now there's this. And as people have noted we're only at the beginning...

Anonymous said...

Oh boy. I really feel for restaurant workers and owners right now. I waited tables for over eleven years all over here in manhattan. The upside was the large amounts of cash on hand and the great shifts especially during holidays and events, which were mostly made from Thursday to Sunday. The down side were other weeknights unless it was a consistently busy place. What sucked was not having an hourly wage during slow shifts with no clientele. Our checks were usually zero for taxes and fees. Winter was usually dire anyways, but it still hurt, And unless you are working in a corporate entity, which I did for some time at McNally corporation, there's no healthcare, no nothing. If you are out of work due to an illness or emergency, you are screwed unless you have adequate savings to shield you from something unexpected like this. Restaurants cannot and will not help their employees when they have their own upkeep and bills to manage. Given the state of our pathetic government and joke of an administration, I don't foresee how employees can access the help they need if and when they become infected or need financial assistance. And unless an employer has capital to back him or her up, the obstacles can be challenging. The restaurant industry can be equally beneficial as it can be both brutal and cutthroat. I really hope everyone pulls through this and doesn't panic. One day at a time I guess. Wouldn't it be amazing if we paid into a universal health care system where everyone could see a doctor if they are ill during an outbreak like this? Wishful thinking. Maybe in 2100? My best to the local businesses here.

Giovanni said...

Remember a few months ago when we all thought that flavored e-cigarettes were the major health issue of the day? I miss those days.

While the coronavirus outbreak could be contained with the proper amount of testing and isolation of infected individuals, it could also get much worse in a hurry. Italy is completely shut down, and here major sports events and music festivals have been canceled, many colleges (except of course for CUNY, which always stays open and wouldn’t close down even in the middle of a nuclear holocaust) are shutting down, including Harvard, Princeton, Cornell, Columbia, and NYU, some telling students to go home, even if they live overseas. At this point many schools may not even have graduation this year.

Businesses, events, and schools that we never thought would close are all shutting down now. Nobody wants the liability or responsibility of what happens if there’s an outbreak on their watch. People are afraid to get on airplanes now. The cruise ship industry is doomed. The damage has already been done, and the economy is headed for a downturn. This could be like Hurricane Sandy times the financial collapse of 2008. If the US becomes the next Italy, with major shut downs of major cities, the bigger issue won’t be how many small businesses survive but how many of us survive.

Anonymous said...

It will get worse before it gets better. It is just starting to sink in. People are beginning to understand that washing your hands and using hand sanitizer is smart. But in a restaurant, people have to receive deliveries of food, unpack the deliveries, transfer it to the cooking areas, cook it, put in on the plates, hand it to the server, who hands it to you. Did they wash every time the food moved from one spot to the next before it got to your table? Let's face it...this will spread more and it will get worse. But perhaps people will learn better hygiene.

Anonymous said...

Things are getting really scary and intense right now. Please be careful everyone.

Anonymous said...

Remember the good old days when we had more hospitals like St Vincent's and then they were razed to make way for luxury condos? Good times. And now here we are in a time of crisis when our medical resources are limited. Italy has already reached its capacity in hospitals and people are going untreated. Let's check back in a week and see how we're doing.

Anonymous said...

NYC Small Business Services has posted info for small businesses who are experiencing difficulties due to the current health situation.


From the website -

"...the City will provide relief for small businesses across the City seeing a reduction in revenue because of COVID-19. Businesses with fewer than 100 employees who have seen sales decreases of 25% or more will be eligible for zero interest loans of up to $75,000 to help mitigate losses in profit.

The City is also offering small businesses with fewer than 5 employees a grant to cover 40% of payroll costs for two months to help retain employees."

Giovanni said...

This is why the downtown community was upset when St Vincents and Cabrini hospitals were closed in order to put up more condos, followed by Mt Sinai buying Beth Israel and closing down large portions of the 800 bed hospital, only to replace it eventually with a 70 bed hospital. Now NYU and Bellevue are overcrowded, with patient beds in the hallways with during the current flu season. What they will do when they get another 1000+ coronavirus patients will be just the beginning of a massive a human tragedy. Meanwhile Mt Sinai tries to ship everyone to other uptown locations 5 miles away, so enjoy the traffic jams on your way there.

In the meantime I stocked up on N95 masks, and yes they do help to block small germ particles, just ask anyone who works in the medical field. Some people react with shock when they see the mask, and others say they won’t work or only protect other people from the wearers germs, which is true for the cheap surgical masks but not these. I tell them to get back to me in a few weeks after they have endured one of the worst viruses of their entire lives, or have infected someone else who is then forced into an ICU. Either we do everything we can to protect yourselves and others, or we resign ourselves to a pandemic that could kill and sicken millions of people in the next few months.

Eden Bee said...

This is definitely going to get worse before it begins to get better. My friend in Italy told me he thinks we are maybe less than two weeks away from joining them where they are at. I hope he is wrong but my sis said basically the same thing and she is a doc who works with an infectious disease doctor upstate. Schools where she lives just closed today. I think the celeb cases really freaked people out like Justin Trudeau's wife. Will only the ones with heath insurance be able to get tested if we ever get testing together? This is already a disaster. Most of my friends who can't work from home lost their jobs this week including my husband who works in television. If it stopped in two weeks we would be in trouble..however all signs point to it being worse in two weeks.