--Updated12/22: In a good sign, several of the businesses that decided to close this past weekend have reopened. Updating the list below--
The rise in COVID-19 cases across NYC alongside the spread of the new omicron variant made its presence known to local businesses and residents over the weekend.
In recent days, several establishments either closed because of infection among their staff or due to possible exposure to someone who had tested positive. For instance, Mister Paradise, the cocktail bar at 105 First Ave., closed for the weekend after positive test results for some employees...
Yellow Rose on Third Avenue and Academy Records on 12th Street were among other businesses to announce a temporary closure due to positive test results.
The Brant Foundation, showing a solo exhibition of new works by Julian Schnabel, abruptly closed "out of precaution" on Saturday here at 421 E. Sixth St. ...
• All The Kings Horses at 521 E. 12th St. has closed until further notice. UPDATED: They reopen on 12/21 with limited hours and no indoor dining.
• AuH2O Shop, 84 E. Seventh St., closed yesterday and will not reopen until after Christmas. "We're very sorry to people looking to pick up online orders or last-minute gifts, but we thank you for understanding the need to keep our staff and everyone safe."
• Azaleas, the women's boutique, limited their hours and the number of patrons allowed inside the shop at 140 Second Ave.
• Beauty Bar, 231 E. 14th St., will be closed until at least Dec. 31.
• Bluestockings, the activist bookstore and café at 116 Suffolk St., is now only open for pickup orders and coffee and pastries to go.
• Boris & Horton, the dog-friendly cafe on Avenue A at 12th Street, closed for the weekend, stating on Instagram: "The health of our employees, guests, and community is our number one priority." UPDATED 12/22: They are back open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
• The Copper Still, 151 Second Ave., plans to reopen on Dec. 26.
• The Film Anthology Archives, 32 Second Ave., canceled yesterday's screenings and those scheduled for tonight and tomorrow. Per a statement: "Having already planned to close for the holidays from Dec. 22-Jan. 6, we hope to return as scheduled on Jan. 7."
• Josie's, 520 E. Sixth St., like its sister bars Mona's and Sophie's, will be closed at least until after Dec. 25.
• Kindred, 342 E. Sixth St., is closed to at least Dec. 28.
• The Hard Swallow, 140 First Ave., will reopen on Dec. 27.
• The Immigrant, 341 E. Ninth St., has closed until Dec. 26.
• Metrograph, the cinema at 7 Ludlow St., is closing its theaters and commissary until Dec. 25.
• Mona's, 224 Avenue B, has shut down through Dec. 27.
• Now Yoga at 61 E. Fourth St. has suspended in-person classes, pivoting back to online sessions for the remainder of the year.
• O'Hanlon's, 349 E. 14th St., is shutting down until Dec. 26 to give its staff time off to get tested and to deep clean the bar.
• Otto's Shrunken Head, 538 E. 14th St., closed after service last night. The bar plans to reopen on Jan. 5.
• Phebe's, 361 Bowery, announced it will be closed for the next week.
• Ruffian, 125 E. Seventh St., plans to reopen on Dec. 27.
• SMØR, the Nordic cafe at 441 E. 12th St., suspended indoor dining, serving food and drinks outdoors and for takeaway and delivery.
• Sophie's, 507 E. Fifth St., is closed now with hopes of reopening after this holiday week.
For fatigued owners, employees and residents, the closures have prompted unpleasant flashbacks to March 2020, when businesses announced short-term closures due to the rising cases of coronavirus... only to be shuttered for months after then-Gov. Cuomo ordered all nonessential businesses to close during the PAUSE.
In recent days, both Mayor de Blasio, who has less than two weeks left in office, and Gov. Hochul have reportedly said another NYC lockdown won't be necessary. "Getting vaccinated, getting the booster and wearing a mask are critical to avoiding getting seriously ill from COVID-19, so don't take a chance," Hochul said on Saturday.
Meanwhile, the scramble for testing continues. Long lines await people anxious for peace of mind before traveling in the days ahead or attending holiday get-togethers with friends or family. The Mayor has promised more testing sites early this week.
Starting today, the NYC Test & Trace Corps, in partnership with the NYC Health Department and NYC Care, will distribute 500,000 rapid antigen self-testing kits and 1 million KN95 masks through community-based organizations across the city. It's not clear where these might be available in the East Village.
Hearth photo by Lola Sáenz