Governor Andrew Cuomo will be allowing restaurants and bars to operate indoors until midnight starting April 19 as vaccinations across the state reach a height of 39% and infection rates remain low.
The news comes after a recent survey by the New York City office of the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC NYC) reveals that of 130 minority-owned small businesses, nearly three quarters will be forced to close if they do not receive financial aid and 90% could close in the next six months.
“We talked about adjusting the valve between economic activity and economic constraint, depending on how we’re doing with COVID, we’re going to extend the 11 p.m. curfew for food and beverage to midnight, that will go into effect, Monday, April 19 for catered events,” Cuomo said Wednesday afternoon. “The disease is still very much with us, you see it escalating in some states, you see it escalating in some countries. So, we have to stay smart until COVID is crushed, and it won’t be crushed until we get herd immunity and we won’t get herd immunity until we finish vaccinating everyone.”
While the current curfew is 11 p.m., it is unclear if the hour difference will give businesses the boost they need to remain open.
“To see so many of these minority-owned small businesses on the brink of collapse should be of grave concern to anyone hoping for economic recovery anytime soon,” Valerie White, executive director of LISC NYC, said. “These businesses make up the backbone of communities across the city, and if these small businesses don’t survive the pandemic, then countless New York City commercial corridors and neighborhoods will continue to suffer.”
Restaurants across New York City reported losing up half of all revenue compared to pre-pandemic levels, according to the NYC Hospitality Alliance in a report in late March. of the 400 members of the organization polled, 44% marked a revenue decline of 76% to 100% due to the government-enforced closures and indoor dining restrictions.
Indoor capacity for restaurants remains at 50%.