By Anthony Paradiso
The Coronavirus has had a profoundly bad impact on local businesses everywhere, but especially in New York City, which has the most cases of any major city in the country. Many Bleecker street shops have either been closed or remained open in a limited capacity. Some have not had a customer walk in all week. Today, I called up the manager of Caffe Reggio, Elena Batyuk who told me all about her situation.
“We were able to open up in the morning, then they cut us down to take-out only. Normally we close at three in the morning, but now we close at 8 PM. There are no people. Business is down 98-percent. I don’t know how long we can stay open.”
The rise in new cases led New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo to order one hundred percent of all non-essential business to close tonight. Batyuk expressed concern over how long the Coronavirus pandemic could last and what that could mean for her business.
“What really alerts me [is Mayor] De Blasio saying that restaurants across the city could be closed until September or possibly longer. That’s a big problem for people who work in restaurants in Manhattan and if we’re all out of work throughout the summer, that’s a whole different story.”
For the past week, FDNY and NYPD have enforced a 50 percent capacity rule for local businesses. As a result, a place like Caffe Reggio, that is known for its interior décor, can only fulfill take-out orders. This is totally understandable in the interest of the public health. However, it will kill business at cafés, bars, and restaurants like Caffe Reggio throughout New York City.
“Reggio is just a different type of place, here you get a coffee, you sit down, do some people-watching, read your book. If people can’t sit-down, then [all our business becomes] to-go coffee. If people can’t sit-down, then we’re not doing much.”
Hopefully the Caffe Reggio can survive the Covid-19 pandemic and re-open when the pandemic subsides.