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Dozens of restaurants across NYC close their doors as the city becomes the epicenter of Covid wave

Dozens of restaurants and businesses across New York City are closing their doors ahead of the Christmas holiday after the Big Apple became the epicenter of the latest Covid-19 wave fueled by the Omicron variant.

Following SantaCon celebrations during the weekend, the city logged a record 21,908 cases – a slight increase over the previous record of 21,027 cases reported the day before – and in response, a host of eateries have closed.

At least 50 restaurants have closed across New York City’s five boroughs, including Boilermaker in Manhattan’s Lower East Side, whose Sippin’ Santa annual holiday pop-up cocktail bar is a seasonal favorite.

Contento, the popular East Harlem eatery, shut its doors after a customer who dined there last Tuesday tested positive for the virus. 

Soon afterward, a restaurant employee tested positive for the virus, according to Eater.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio addressed the surge Monday, saying that the city will experience a ‘fast and temporary’ spike in Covid cases. Officials are responding by adding 23 testing sites will be added throughout the city, making 112 sites available for New Yorkers to get tested ahead of the holidays.

At least 50 restaurants have closed across New York City's five boroughs, including Raoul's in Manhattan's Soho neighborhood (pictured). The shut-downs came following the city's record 21,908 cases after a weekend of SantaCon celebrations

At least 50 restaurants have closed across New York City’s five boroughs, including Raoul’s in Manhattan’s Soho neighborhood (pictured). The shut-downs came following the city’s record 21,908 cases after a weekend of SantaCon celebrations

Other well-known restaurants in the city, including Bernie’s in Brooklyn, and tasty Vietnamese spot Di An Di, also announced they would close temporarily after staffers became infected.

NYC RESTAURANTS CLOSED DUE TO COVID  

Brooklyn

Bar Meridian – Prospect Heights

Bernie’s – Greenpoint

Cozy Royale – Williamsburg 

Daughter – Crown Heights 

Di An Di – Greenpoint 

Esme – Greenpoint  

Faro – Bushwick 

For All Good Things – Bed-Stuy 

Frankies 457 – Carroll Gardens 

Lalou – Prospect Heights 

Leland Eating + Drinking House – Prospect Heights 

Leo – Williamsburg 

L’Industre – Williamsburg 

LloHi Roof Bar – Williamsburg 

Love, Nelly – Bushwick 

Lowerline – Prospect Heights 

Madre- Greenpoint

Nite Nite – Williamsburg 

Ops – Bushwick 

Otway – Park Slope 

Oxalis – Crown Heights 

Pheasant – Williamsburg 

Rialto Grande – Crown Heights 

Rule of Thirds – Greenpoint 

Sams Street – Greenpoint 

The Four Horsemen – Williamsburg 

Thief – Williamsburg 

Ugly Baby – Carroll Gardens 

Winona’s – Bed-Stuy

Win Son Bakery – Williamsburg 

Manhattan

Bandits – West Village

Boilermaker – Lower East Side

Contento – Harlem

Double Chicken Please – Lower East Side 

Forsyth Fire Escape – Nolita 

Frenchette – Tribeca 

Jack’s Wife Freida – Soho 

Kindred – East Village 

La Compagnie de Vins Surnaturales – Little Italy 

Raoul’s – Soho 

Reverence – Harlem 

Subject – Lower East Side

Temperature Wine Bar – West Village 

The Garret East – East Village 

The Honeywell – Harlem 

Thyme Bar – Flatiron 

Yellow Rose – East Village 

Queens

 Top Quality – Long Island City 

Di An Di owner Tuan Bui said it was the first time since April 2020 – just after the start of the pandemic – that he was forced to close down. 

Restaurant trade associations who spoke to DailyMail.com indicated that the goal remains to keep eateries and bars open to the public. 

During a briefing in Prospect Park, De Blasio said that aside from increasing testing capacity, encouraging boosters, distributing free KN95 masks and rapid at-home tests, his administration ‘will [also] be doubling down on inspections’. 

‘We got to stop Covid. We got to continue our recovery. I’ve talked to a lot of people in the business community and they say something very clear, very simple. Covid is bad for business. Shutdowns are bad for business. Restrictions are bad for business. We can’t let that happen again.’

But closures are already starting to plague the metropolis and Christmas dinners will have to be held at home as more restaurants navigate the highly-transmissible Omicron variant.

On Saturday Raoul’s Restaurant in Soho posted on its social media letting patrons know that ‘due to Covid exposure we are closing immediately, and will remain closed for the next week. We plan to reopen on the 27th of December.’ 

A sign was also spotted in the eatery’s window, which read: ‘Gone Fishin’ (Actually, we’re quarantining because there’s a global pandemic).’

Andrew Rigie, executive director of the New York City Hospitality Alliance, told DailyMail.com: ‘New York City has a proof of vaccination requirement to work in a restaurant or dine indoors at one, and these businesses are still struggling, and hoping to safely serve their customers and keep people employed during the holiday season.’

A top executive with the National Restaurant Association is asking Congress to step up and help owners in need. If they don’t, some businesses face the risk of ‘permanent closures’.

‘The last few months have been difficult and chaotic for the restaurant industry,’ said Sean Kennedy, executive vice president of public affairs for the National Restaurant Association.

‘In a recent survey, more than one-third of operators told us that their business conditions – from supply chain challenges to the new Covid variant – have worsened for them.’  

Several popular Broadway plays were also thrown into major crises ahead of the holidays – Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Hamilton, and Tina: The Tina Turner Musical, which all canceled shows due to the Covid outbreak. 

Ain’t Too Proud, Ms Doubtfire, Freestyle Love Supreme and Wicked also canceled upcoming performances due to positive Covid cases among actors and stagehands. 

Mary McColl, executive director of Actors’ Equity Association, which represents actors and stage managers, said the cancellation of shows means that Broadway producers are taking cases seriously and acting appropriately.

In New York, the rules have tightened for children and opera-goers: All kids aged 5 to 11 must now show proof of receiving at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine to attend a Broadway show and must be accompanied by a vaccinated adult.

If the child was vaccinated fewer than 14 days before the performance, he or she must also provide proof of a negative Covid-19 test for entry.

And the Metropolitan Opera is requiring the audience and employees to receive Covid booster shots for entry starting January 17.

Bernie's, the popular Brooklyn restaurant, announced it would temporarily shut its doors after a staffer tested positive for Covid-19

The restaurant announced the news on social media

Bernie’s, the popular Brooklyn restaurant, announced that it would temporarily shut its doors after a staffer tested positive for Covid-19

The company said anyone not yet eligible to receive a booster shot will be allowed a two-week grace period after they become eligible.

Meanwhile, recent outbreaks are still causing city schools to shutter and the Department of Education (DOE) closed three public schools Thursday alone due to Covid infections – the most in a single day this academic year, according to The New York Post.

Eagle Academy for Young Men II in Brooklyn, PS 18 in the Bronx and Robert E Peary School in Queens closed with no plans to reopen until January 3, 2022, after the winter break.  

On Saturday, City Knoll Middle School in Manhattan was also shut.   

It’s not just the Big Apple being hit hard by the virus’ new variant. Overall, the tristate area has seen a rise in infections.

Connecticut recorded a 137 percent increase over the past two weeks, plus a 69 percent increase in hospitalizations in that time despite 74 percent of the population being fully vaccinated. 

Ben Fileccia, the director of operations and strategy for the Pennsylvania Restaurant & Lodging Association, told DailyMail.com that there is growing worry within the industry that closures could be coming.

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf has indicated that for now there won’t be lockdowns or other severe restrictions that were instituted last year.

Instead, Wolf and other public health officials in the Keystone State have urged the public to get vaccinated and to wear masks indoors.

Fileccia told DailyMail.com that restaurants, bars, music venues, casinos and sports arenas in Philadelphia will require proof of vaccination for both employees and customers.

‘The biggest fear’ in Pennsylvania is that ‘capacity reductions’ or ‘mandatory closures’ would be announced in response to the crisis, according to Fileccia.

He said that restaurants – barely recovered from the first wave of lockdowns – could find themselves permanently closed if authorities impose similar restrictions.

Fileccia said that he knows of one bar owner in Philadelphia who announced he would keep his establishment closed until January ‘just to see what’s going on’.

‘But as far as other restaurants looking to close down, I have not heard of any across the state,’ he said.

Prior to the Omicron outbreak, some 30 percent of Philadelphia food-service establishments imposed a vaccine requirement.

Stephen Clark, the vice president of government affairs for the Massachusetts Restaurant Association, told DailyMail.com that Bay State diners continue to patronize their favorite eateries.

‘As of right now, we are not seeing restaurant closures in Massachusetts,’ Clark told DailyMail.com.

‘Massachusetts has a very high rate of vaccination and people are continuing to dine out socially and enjoy the holiday season, although corporate holiday parties have not returned.

‘The restaurants that have felt the biggest impacts are those situated near companies that continue to push off their employees returning to work.’

Kelsey Erickson Streufert, spokeswoman  for Texas Restaurant Association, told DailyMail.com that eateries in the Lone Star State remain open for business and that will likely not change in the foreseeable future. 

‘We don’t anticipate seeing new waves of closures or lockdowns and restrictions,’ Streufert said from her Dallas office.

‘At this stage of the pandemic we know how to safely operate. We know how to keep people safe without shutting down the economy and that’s the approach we’re going to be following in Texas.’ 

Broadway is facing a major crisis ahead of the holidays after most of its shows canceled upcoming performances due to surges in cases among cast and production staff

Broadway is facing a major crisis ahead of the holidays after most of its shows canceled upcoming performances due to surges in cases among cast and production staff

Corporate America is also making contingency plans ahead of what public health officials fear will be a major wave of infections nationwide.

Google informed its work force of 150,000 employees that they had to company on their vaccination status by December 3 – by which time they must either upload proof of inoculation or apply for a medical or religious exemption.

The company told its workers in a memo that it would then start contacting those who did not upload their status or whose requests for a religious or medical exemption were denied.

Employees who failed to get vaccinated by January 18 would be placed on ‘paid administrative leave’ for 30 days. After the 30-day period, the company would place them on ‘unpaid personal leave’ for up to six months.

If they did not get vaccinated by the end of the six-month period, they would be fired, according to CNBC.

Google isn’t the only blue-chip firm that is cracking down on vaccine holdouts.

JP Morgan Chase will not allow unvaccinated employees into its Manhattan locations, according to The New York Times.

The investment giant said the new policy is being put in place so that those who have been vaccinated can work at the office without having to wear a mask.

The company said ‘it seems unfair to require our vaccinated employees to wear masks all day at their desks.’

New York State instituted a rule requiring companies that do not mandate vaccinations to have their employees wear masks indoors at all times.

Meanwhile, Apple is delaying its return to office plans indefinitely in response to the rise in newly diagnosed Covid-19 cases.

The company’s employees were previously set to return to offices February 1, but the plans have been pushed back indefinitely.

The company has also said it has temporarily closed three stores in the US and Canada amid soaring cases of Covid among the store employees.

Apple will also reinstate mask mandates and crowd control at retail stores, which will only allow a limited number of shoppers inside at one time. 

‘Amid rising cases in many communities, we now require that all customers join our team members in wearing masks while visiting our stores,’ the company told The Verge.

The National Football League announced that it will mandate booster shots for staffers who come into contact with players.

The NFL is having its worst outbreak in terms of players on the reserve/COVID list: Eighty-eight tested positive Monday and Tuesday, and several more were added last Wednesday including eight on the Washington Football Team.

The Los Angeles Rams have 16 on the list.

It’s a small percentage for a league with about 2,200 players between active rosters, injured reserves and practice squads. But Omicron could cause that to rise quickly.

New York Giants coach Joe Judge said his players are now wearing masks indoors and are spaced out more in meetings.

‘Anyone who’s been involved in any kind of a close contact or test at this point has either been removed or separated from the team, and they’re in virtual meetings,’ Judge said.

The NFL Players Association has raised alarms for months about the league moving from daily to weekly testing, which hampers detection of outbreaks.

In Canada on Wednesday, the country’s largest province, Ontario – home to the NBA’s Toronto Raptors and the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs and Ottawa Senators – set a cap of 50 percent of capacity for large gatherings such as professional sports events.

The NFL is having its worst outbreak in terms of players on the reserve/Covid list: Eighty-eight tested positive Monday and Tuesday, and several more were added Wednesday including eight on the Washington Football Team

The NFL is having its worst outbreak in terms of players on the reserve/Covid list: Eighty-eight tested positive Monday and Tuesday, and several more were added Wednesday including eight on the Washington Football Team

So far the NHL has had the most postponed games for a league in North America this season, with 10.

The Senators were first in mid-November, followed by the Calgary Flames and the Carolina Hurricanes this week.

Last Wednesday alone, the Nashville Predators added six players and six staff members to the health and safety protocols, and Boston Bruins captain Patrice Bergeron went in as well.

Boston’s mayor announced Monday that as of mid-January the city will require patrons to show proof of vaccination to enter some indoor spaces, including restaurants, bars, fitness centers and entertainment venues. 

The Omicron variant is mostly responsible for the uptick in NHL cases, according to a person with direct knowledge of discussions between the league and the NHL Players’ Association, but it does not account for all positive tests. 

The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the talks were private.

The person also said the NHL is reintroducing enhanced Covid-19 protocols including restricting players to their hotels while on the road and bringing back daily testing through at least January 7.

Interim coach Derek King of the Chicago Blackhawks, who were supposed to play the Flames this week, said the team has been reinforcing with players the importance of social distancing, hygiene and avoiding crowds.

‘Just really knuckle down, because we don’t want to be one of those teams that’s got to rearrange their schedule because we have Covid,’ King said.

The NBA also has several stars on Covid protocols right now, including the Milwaukee Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Brooklyn Nets’ James Harden.

As of last Wednesday, 33 players – about 6.5 percent of the league – were in the protocols, with 17 of those playing for either Chicago or Brooklyn.

The Bulls had games postponed last Tuesday and Thursday because they didn’t have enough players available, while Brooklyn played with an NBA-minimum roster of eight on Tuesday. 

That same night, when Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry set a record for career three-pointers at New York’s Madison Square Garden, NBA commissioner Adam Silver wasn’t in the audience – both he and deputy commissioner Mark Tatum have been undergoing daily testing after attending an event hosted by Toronto president Masai Ujiri, who tested positive soon after.

Amtrak said last Tuesday it will temporarily suspend a vaccine mandate for employees and now no longer expects to be forced to cut some service in January. Instead, it will allow employees to get tested

Amtrak said last Tuesday it will temporarily suspend a vaccine mandate for employees and now no longer expects to be forced to cut some service in January. Instead, it will allow employees to get tested

Google has revised its vaccine mandate and informed employees that they must meet a deadline to get inoculated. Otherwise, they would lose their jobs

JP Morgan Chase will not allow unvaccinated employees into its Manhattan locations. The investment giant said the new policy is being put in place so that those who have been vaccinated can work at the office without having to wear a mask

Google has revised its vaccine mandate and informed employees that they must meet a deadline to get inoculated. Otherwise, they would lose their jobs. JP Morgan Chase will not allow unvaccinated employees into its Manhattan locations. The investment giant said the new policy is being put in place so that those who have been vaccinated can work at the office without having to wear a mask

‘Like the rest of the country, and as was predicted by our infectious disease specialists, we have seen an increase of cases around the league,’ NBA spokesman Mike Bass said last week, adding that the league will continue to be guided by science and data and cooperate with the Players Association.

The NBA says 97 percent of players are vaccinated and just over 60 percent have received booster shots.

Amtrak said last Tuesday it would temporarily suspend a vaccine mandate for employees and now no longer expects to be forced to cut some service in January.

In a memo seen by Reuters, Amtrak said it would allow employees who were not vaccinated to get tested.

Currently, less than 500 active Amtrak employees are not in compliance.

Last week, the railroad told Congress it anticipated ‘proactively needing to temporarily reduce some train frequencies across our network’ because of the mandate.

Growing worries over the rapidly spreading Omicron coronavirus variant have derailed several companies’ plans for a return to normalcy.

Citigroup has told employees at its New York City office that they can work from home if they are able to through the holidays, a source with knowledge of the matter told Reuters on Thursday.

The bank already requires employees in the United States to be vaccinated but is not pushing for boosters, a source told Reuters.

Separately, investment bank Goldman Sachs Group Inc has postponed its remaining holiday parties in New York due to Covid concerns, a source familiar with the matter said.

The bank had hosted holiday parties over the last few weeks.    


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