(The Center Square) – With COVID-19 cases growing as the weather turns colder, New York’s business community has raised concerns about further sweeping shutdowns.
Some make the case that Gov. Andrew Cuomo's targeted zone restrictions present a more reasonable approach to virus mitigation, compared to the total shutdowns of the spring, while also preserving economic viability.
“The governor is not shutting down everything but going into zones and doing it that way,” Helana Natt, executive director of the Greater New York Chamber of Commerce, told The Center Square.
“New York City is not one zone, so if one neighborhood has its own restrictions, it’s not going to affect a completely opposite area," Natt said.
While the relatively warm fall temperatures have been fortunate, once winter hits and restaurants can only operate at a fraction of capacity, many businesses may not be able to last through the pandemic.
“For some of these places, once they are shut down, they’re not coming back,” Natt said. “They really need an economic stimulus. New York thrives on the tourism. They thrive on the hotels, and the restaurants grab a piece of that also.”
In a news release, the Broadway League trade association noted that nearly 100,000 workers rely on Broadway for their livelihood, which provides roughly $15 billion in annual economic impact to the city. As it currently stands, the theaters that play a vital role in New York City’s economy are shut until at least May 30, 2021 because of the pandemic.
Since most other industries still have their employees working from home, it’s another setback to the hospitality sector, which can’t endure without customers, Natt said.
“We are waiting, we’re just waiting like everyone else,” Natt said. “The government needs to put out another stimulus to help these businesses survive, not only in New York City, but across the country. Because these businesses support families, and the families support their kids. If the business is not there to pay the employees, they’re not going to go buy food, holiday presents, or other things. It’s a whole domino effect.”