Saturday marks 4 years since NYC restaurants shut down due to COVID-19 pandemic

Former Mayor Bill DeBlasio signed an executive order on March 16, 2020 that limited restaurants, cafes and bars to take-out only.

Heather Fordham, Shakti Denis and Adolfo Carrion

Mar 15, 2024, 10:00 PM

Updated 30 days ago

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March 16 marks the four-year mark of when restaurants in New York City were forced to shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Former Mayor Bill DeBlasio signed an executive order on March 16, 2020 that limited restaurants, cafes, and bars to take-out only. Many restaurants were forced to adapt their way of business to survive.
This caused hundreds of the city’s eateries to close for good due to the financial burden of rent, employee wages and other business costs. Outdoor dining became a year-round staple for restaurants in September 2020 as capacity restrictions stuck around for indoor dining.
In June 2021, all indoor dining restrictions were dropped – but outdoor dining stuck around for some restaurants due to its success.
For Footprints in East Flatbush, that time was challenging.
"We did out best to adapt and observe the new rules that were in place," said Footprints owner Bobby Gordon. "The era of uncertainty and just not knowing what was going to happen next, it was a really scary time for everyone."
For businesses like Mario’s on Arthur Avenue, business never fully returned to normal.
"People were afraid to go out, we couldn't afford to do it, we shut down completely for four months,” said Regina Delfino, owner of Mario’s. “It's a new normal, we never know, we take one day at a time, business goes up and down like a roller coaster.”
Mario’s recently closed their outdoor dining shed and has chosen to bring back their valet parking for their customers to enjoy.


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