NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — There’s new hope for the hard hit restaurant and bar industry in New York City.
Sources tell CBS2 eateries are in line to receive millions of dollars as part of a federal COVID relief bill.READ MORE: Man Shot To Death In Elmont, Nassau County Police Investigating
As CBS2’s John Dias reported, the aid can’t come soon enough. A new survey shows that 54% of New York City bars and restaurants will be forced to close if they don’t get some help from Washington.
One could argue the Green Kitchen Restaurant on the Upper East Side is on financial life support, with no indoor dining allowed until Feb. 14. The restaurant has been relying solely on takeout and delivery. Limited space in the area doesn’t allow for outdoor dining.
“I’m not allowed because they have the bicycle lane over there, they got taxi drivers over there,” said Carlos Flores, who works at the restaurant. “It’s very bad, man. It’s very bad. It’s nothing like before.”
There are similar struggles in all five boroughs, so the news of a potential bailout is elating to many in the industry.
“We need the help, and I think it’s great the federal government is stepping in,” said Nicca Ray, manager at EJ’s Luncheonette.
Sources close to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s office confirm a “sizable amount” of the $25 billion grant program backed in the next coronavirus stimulus package is expected to go to these businesses in the city.
Businesses may not be part of a chain or franchise operating more than 20 locations under the same name to receive the stimulus. Sources also said recipients would not have to pay back the grants unless they permanently close.
“Every penny helps,” said Glen Rufrano, a customer. “Restaurants have served us for a very long time in this country. Unfortunately, because of the elements, they’ve been beat up more than other businesses.”
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“We opened indoor dining responsibly. Never once have we had to reduce capacity,” he said Wednesday. “Now, because of your compliance, we can further expand.”
The 10 p.m. restaurant curfew will end, and indoor dining capacity will go from 25% to 35% on Friday.
“Our location is really small. So 35% doesn’t give us too much,” Stephanie Bigmore, of Feat Catering, told CBS2.
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Some Republican leaders say the state needs to ease up and possibly go to 50% capacity or higher, like other states.
“There’s no correlation between transmission rates,” said State Sen. Declan O’Scanlon. “There is absolutely a negative correlation of unemployment rates, of bankruptcies, business failures.”
As for relief in New York City, there is a set dollar amount, but that hasn’t been released yet. Leaders are still hammering out all the details.
“I’ve sent this letter to the state government today, making clear our desire to have the state formally allow New York City to use second doses as first doses,” de Blasio said Thursday. “I think it is morally crucial that everyone who needs a first dose, get a first dose. And if someone needing a second dose waits a little longer, but still within those CDC guidelines, I think that is absolutely the right thing to do.MORE NEWS: De Blasio Says City Prepared For School Staffing Shortages As COVID Vaccine Deadline Approaches
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