Reports Say Half of NYC Eateries May Close Forever - But Owners Say It's Worse Than That

Brittany M. Hughes | October 15, 2020
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According to one bar owner, as many as three out of four New York City bars may close their doors forever thanks to the city’s tyrannical shutdowns that have been blamed on the COVID-19 pandemic.

Despite the fact that the virus that has largely impacted the area’s elderly population, including thousands who were housed with COVID-positive patients per Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s orders, the city has kept restaurants, bars, gyms and other establishments almost completely closed since the Spring. Business Insider reports that an online survey found 43% of the city’s bars were closed on Oct. 5. Of those that were open, spending was down 80% from the same day last year.

Joaquin Simo, who owns a bar in the East Village, said the impact of continued shutdowns coupled with the already astronomically high cost of running a food service business in the Big Apple could easily leave 75 percent of the city’s bars unable to come back from such a devastating year.

“We could definitely lose three-quarters of the bars we started the year with, especially in New York,” Simo said. “Bars are a volume business; historically the busier the better.”

The only way to save it, he suggests, is to cut costs – and employees – to maximize profit and stay in business.

Simo’s estimate is higher than a recent estimate from NYC’s comptroller, but not by much. Earlier this month, New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli released a new report estimating that up to 50 percent of the city’s bars and restaurants may be closed permanently in the next six months.