'People are back.' Marking 3 years since NYC restaurants, bars closed due to COVID-19

Despite restaurants and bars welcoming customers in droves, many small businesses say they're still paying off pandemic debt.

Adolfo Carrion

Mar 16, 2023, 10:03 PM

Updated 397 days ago

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Thursday marks the three-year anniversary since restaurants and bars were forced to shut their doors due to the rapid surge of COVID-19 cases in New York City.  
“People are back eating, drinking, socializing, and they want to support your local businesses,” said Andrew Rigie, executive director of the New York City Hospitality Alliance. “We are in a better place than we were, but there are still some realtor challenges and struggles for the small businesses.” 
For Negril BK, a Brooklyn restaurant known for its Caribbean cuisine and friendly atmosphere, they say they’re still trying to build back their sales to where they were pre-pandemic. They say their customers have come back, but that their financial challenges are still very real due to inflation.
“We are on the right track for upward growth,” said Andre Honore, owner of Negril BK. “I just think that the city, as well as everyone that lives here, is still coming out of something that was serious… it’s going to take some time before we get back to where we were.” 


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