Holiday season

COVID outbreak, staff issues hurt New York businesses, restaurants during holiday season

It should be the time of year to celebrate, including for businesses and restaurants, but many in New York City are struggling due to staff issues related to COVID.

Although this is a small part of the year, the time between Thanksgiving and the New Years is usually a disproportionate part of annual business, said Michael Brady, CEO of the Third Avenue Business Improvement District. But sales have slowed in many places with an increase in COVID and ongoing testing issues.

The Third Avenue Business Improvement District supports the Hub in the South Bronx. It is a bustling shopping and transit district around 149th Street. In a typical day, they would see 350,000 people, Brady said.

“The income is flat. People don’t go out like they used to, ”he said.

At Kings of Kobe on West 42nd Street at 11th Avenue, Etai Cinader works the kitchen and the door. They wait for New Years Eve and stay open until midnight.

” It will not be [a] great extravagance, but we’ll be there. Hopefully a happy new year, ”he said.

Many restaurants had to close and then reopen dining rooms depending on the availability of the crew that day.

The Times Square Alliance tracks visitors and economic figures.

Hotel occupancy rates averaged 73% last week, according to Times Square Alliance data. This is double from last year.

On Monday, metro and bus ridership was 47% what it was before the pandemic, according to the MTA. Even vehicle trips, which tended to increase, fell.

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