Restaurants across the Empire State have been struggling to stay in business since the coronavirus pandemic forced them to shut down in March. On Thursday, the New York State Restaurant Association released the findings from its latest survey of more than 1,000 restaurateurs across the state.
Nearly 64% of restaurant owners said they are likely or somewhat likely to close by the end of this year unless they receive financial relief. And about 55% of those who are likely to close said they expect to shut down before November.
Only about 36% said they expect to still be in business by January.
"It is painfully clear that without financial assistance, the restaurant industry in New York State could collapse," the association's president, Melissa Fleischut, said. "These recent survey results illustrate just how dire the financial situation has become for most restaurants, and it shows how critical it is that elected officials understand the urgency of the situation."
In New York City, the situation has been particularly dire. Gov. Andrew Cuomo has maintained an order barring restaurants in the Big Apple from allowing indoor seating. The order is designed to limit the resurgence of Covid-19, but Cuomo has allowed restaurants outside the five boroughs to seat customers at a limited capacity.
New York City restaurateurs like Jason Birchard, 53, co-owner of Veselka, a Ukrainian restaurant in Manhattan, say the restrictions on indoor seating are killing their business.
"We would find it very difficult to survive past January," Birchard told CNN Business. "I'm doing the best I can right now."