NYC businesses hurting as year ends and COVID surges

Local News

This should be the time of year for celebrating, including for businesses and restaurants, but many in New York are struggling due to COVID-related staffing issues.

Though it’s a small portion of the year, the time between Thanksgiving and the New Year usually accounts for an outsized portion of annual business, Third Avenue Business Improvement District CEO Michael Brady said. But sales have slowed down in many locations with a COVID surge and testing issues ongoing.

The Third Avenue Business Improvement District supports the Hub in the South Bronx.  It’s a busy commercial and transit district around 149th Street. On a typical day, they would see 350,000 people, Brady said.

“Revenue is flat. People aren’t coming out like they used to come out,” he said. 

At Kings of Kobe on West 42nd Street at 11th Avenue, Etai Cinader is working the kitchen and the door.  They’re looking ahead to New Year’s Eve and staying open until midnight. 

“It won’t be [a] big extravaganza, but we will be here. Hope for a good new year,” he said. 

Many restaurants have had to close and then reopen dining rooms based on crew availability for that day. 

The Times Square Alliance tracks visitors and economic numbers. 

Hotel occupancy has averaged around 73 percent last week, data from the Times Square Alliance shows. That is double last year’s number. 

On Monday, subway and bus ridership was 47% what it was pre-pandemic, according to the MTA. Even vehicle travel, which had been trending higher, dipped. 

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