Up to half of New York city's restaurant could shut down permanently over the course of the next year due to the continuing COVID-19 pandemic, resulting in the loss of as many as 159,000 jobs, according to an audit report issued by the state comptroller, Thomas DiNapoli.
As reported by The Financial Times, based on credit card transactions and other data, the report concluded that approximately one third of New York city restaurants and half of the city's bars that were open before the pandemic have now shut down.
According to several studies and data sources reviewed by the report, in a worst case-scenario, it is possible that up to half of the restaurants that were operating in New York before the pandemic could be closed permanently within a year.
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The report noted that such forecasts do not take into account the fact that indoor dining began to return in the city on September 30, however, indoor dining is currently limited to a capacity of 25% at New York venues, which is one of a number of restrictions that are required at present to attempt to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
As of August, 174,000 people were employed by restaurants in New York city, which was 55% less than the number of restaurants jobs that existed in the city in February, and the audit report stated that the permanent closure of half of the city's restaurants would result in the loss of 159,000 jobs.
"An Unprecedented Upheaval"
The Financial Times quotes DiNapoli as saying, "The industry is challenging under the best of circumstances, and many eateries operate on tight margins. Now they face an unprecedented upheaval that may cause many establishments to close forever."
Meanwhile, president of the New York State Restaurant Association Melissa Autilio Fleischut stated, "Many in the industry are on life support, and, barring government assistance, a majority of restaurants may face closure by year's end."
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