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Day-to-day, they discover themselves heading deeper into uncomfortable territory.
Restaurant homeowners within the New York City borough of Brooklyn – which has one of many highest concentrations of coronavirus instances within the U.S. – inform Fox Information they’re now scrambling to maintain their companies afloat as payments are mounting and gross sales are plummeting throughout the outbreak. Town is providing some monetary assist, however they argue extra is required whereas an April 1 deadline for a lot of to pay 1000’s in lease is fast-approaching.
“It’s been catastrophic. It’s devastating. We are doing takeout and delivery and relying on the kindness and generosity of our community to keep us open,” Robin Wertheimer, co-owner of Werkstatt, mentioned this week whereas a small crew manned the kitchen and bar counter of the Austrian eatery.
New York Metropolis Mayor Invoice de Blasio ordered all bars and restaurants to close their dining rooms and change to take-out and supply solely 10 days in the past in a bid to halt the unfold of the coronavirus. Since then, the variety of confirmed instances within the Large Apple has skyrocketed to 37,258 as of Thursday afternoon – forcing enterprise homeowners to continuously revise their playbooks to adapt.
“It’s a day-to-day thing, we don’t know what is going to happen the next day, we don’t know if our suppliers are going to be able to give us the same ingredients, we don’t know if our staff is going to be healthy enough to come in, we don’t know if we’re going be shut down in 24 hours,” Wertheimer mentioned. “We function as a part of the economy, which is completely in the crapper. But at the same time we have people that are paycheck to paycheck and that’s the nature of this business, it’s always been paycheck to paycheck.”
Throughout city at Greenwood Park, this spring will not be the one Larry Hyland envisioned.
Heat climate all the time attracts massive crowds to this sprawling indoor and outside bar and restaurant, transformed out of a former fuel station and mechanic store. On a typical day, locals could be seen there sharing meals and pitchers of craft beer, whereas households collect to let their kids play in a delegated outside space.
Now due to the coronavirus, Hyland, its co-owner, has shut down Greenwood Park fully.
“We immediately toyed with the idea of take-out and delivery but quickly realized that it wasn’t worth putting our staff in harm’s way to break even, at best,” Hyland informed Fox Information. “So, in a blink of an eye we had to prepare for the worst. We cleaned out all of our inventory and offered it to our staff and advised them to apply for unemployment.”
Hyland says the timing of the coronavirus outbreak has hit his enterprise significantly onerous, because it leans on seasonal foot site visitors for a lot of its gross sales. Now he has arrange a GoFundMe web page and is encouraging prospects to purchase present playing cards to make use of when issues return to regular, whereas trying to find different technique of aid.
“We live off of savings during the winter months and begin to inch back into the black in March and April,” he says. “We need the rest of the summer to save money and get us through the winter again. So, no matter what, we are going to struggle – but for every additional month we are closed it becomes more serious.”
He added that “things should stay closed till the curve is flattened but the government should be giving small businesses more support from zero-interest loans to stepping in with directives so everyone is not getting hounded for bills they obviously can’t pay, but have every intention to once this is over.”
New York Metropolis is making an attempt to assist restaurant homeowners which are struggling by offering grants and some of their own zero-interest loans.
A spokesperson for the NYC Division of Small Enterprise Providers informed Fox Information on Wednesday that it has accepted 155 purposes for a complete of $1.14 million in grants up to now to assist companies cowl half of their payroll prices. The division additionally says it’s processing greater than 10,000 pre-applications for zero-interest loans and anticipates awarding round $20 million in that regard.
Aron Watman, who helps run the restaurant Cena, says he is amongst these looking for that metropolis help – however what he actually is hoping for is a freeze in paying lease.
New York State Sen. Michael Gianaris has introduced a bill to just do that, however as of Thursday, it stays caught in committee.
“I got my rent statement from our landlord at Cena … and it’s just like nothing is happening. There wasn’t even a note on there like ‘Hey, tough times, pay what you can, we’ll defer this’ – it was just like ‘here’s the rent statement!’ like it was auto-generated from a computer,” Watman mentioned.
The taqueria co-owner says he first tried preserving enterprise open for take-out and supply, however noticed gross sales drop round 75 p.c. Then Cena closed, he mentioned, after staff grew to become involved about catching the coronavirus and stopped exhibiting up for work.
“They don’t want to get sick, they have families, so I don’t have anybody to work it,” Watman mentioned.
Like Greenwood Park, he additionally has arrange a GoFundMe web page – and says folks have contacted him to assist get a Venmo account going for donations – one thing that Werkstatt is already doing.
As for when their eating rooms might be allowed to seat visitors once more, the mayor’s workplace tells Fox Information there’s “no timetable.”
“We’ll re-open when it’s secure to take action,” Freddi Goldstein, de Blasio’s press secretary, mentioned in a press release.
In the meantime, Watman says the neighborhood “definitely has been supportive and is being more proactive than I would have imagined.”
“If I come out of this thing in six months, whatever it is, and they are like ‘here is a giant stack of bills’, then I’m going to be in some trouble,” he added. “But if I come out of this thing and life resumes as if it had just been paused, then we’ll be fine.”