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COVID-19: NY Restaurant Industry Has Lost 250K Jobs, $2 Billion

The restaurant industry in New York has been hit hard by the novel coronavirus outbreak.
The restaurant industry in New York has been hit hard by the novel coronavirus outbreak. Photo Credit: Pixabay

The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, which forced the closure of all non-essential businesses in the tristate area, has cost restaurants billions of dollars statewide in just a few short weeks.

A new report from the National Restaurant Association determined that New York restaurants have lost approximately $1.9 billion in sales, and more than 250,000 jobs have been cut since the outbreak.

The lost sales mark a 58-percent decrease compared to this time last year.

The numbers come approximately two weeks after New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo limited bars and restaurants to takeout and delivery services on Monday, March 16.

The survey, which included more than 5,000 restaurant owners and operators found that nationwide, sales are down 47 percent, 70 percent had to lay off employees and reduce man-hours, with half of those expecting to reduce staff further before the outbreak subsides.

According to the National Restaurant Association, as recently as 2018, there were 50,153 restaurants throughout the state, which generated $51.6 billion in revenues. The association said that every dollar spent in the table service segment contributes $1.76 to the state’s economy.

The 865,800 restaurant and foodservice jobs in New York in 2018 represented 9 percent of the entire employment in the state. That number was expected to grow by 5.6 percent, to nearly 16 percent, by 2029.

“While our industry nationwide is deeply impacted, New York State restaurants are among the hardest hit," Melissa Fleischut, President & CEO of the New York State Restaurant Association stated. "Now that New York has become the global epicenter of the pandemic, we fear the devastating and lasting impact on our restaurants, especially in New York City, the culinary capital of the world. 

"We’ll continue to seek immediate assistance for the industry and find ways​ to ensure long-term viability."

Nationally, the restaurant industry has lost more than 3 million jobs and $25 billion in sales since March 1, and things are only going to get worse in New York, as the spread of the virus is expected to reach its apex by the end of April, Cuomo said.

“Association research found that 54% of operators made the switch to all off-premises services; 44% have had to temporarily close down. This is uncharted territory,” said Hudson Riehle, the Association’s senior vice president of research. “The industry has never experienced anything like this before.”

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