Gov. Cuomo announced Monday that New York, New Jersey and Connecticut would jointly enforce rules as coronavirus fears rise, including restaurants and bars only being open for takeout and delivery starting at 8 p.m. Monday.
Gatherings of more than 50 people also are banned as “social distancing” is being advised as cases of COVID-19 increase.
Gyms, movie theaters and casinos closed Monday night.
Cuomo said the temporary closures will last as long as is necessary to protect the public health and that grocery stores will remain open.
“The challenge never ends for a small business owner,” said Loycent Gordon, owner of Neir’s Tavern in Woodhaven. His bar was in danger of closing in January before officials including Mayor de Blasio stepped in and spoke to the landlord. Now a pandemic has interrupted business.
Gordon called the situation as well as the new kinds of work he and his employees are doing “unprecedented.” Operating with limited hours, there is a takeout menu.
Neir’s also sold beer growlers, which went quickly. There is also a speakeasy promotion: Customers who come in and say the word speakeasy will get a free shot with their purchase.
Tuesday was the first day that the business adjusted on the fly. It also happened to be St. Patrick’s Day.
“That was profitable for us,” Gordon said. “If we maintain that, then we’ll be able to ride this out. But yesterday was a very special day.”
He said he is also looking into the possibility of delivering to customers.
Mark Gallagher is consolidating his Manor Oktoberfest businesses into Manor Delicatessen on Jamaica Avenue in Woodhaven.
Having to adjust on the fly didn’t phase the owner.
“I could do s--t on the fly,” he said. “It’s what I do. I was bred for this. I’ll survive and my people will all survive and we can make things happen.”
Gallagher is consolidating his eateries so there’s less exposure.
“It’s not always about money,” he said. “Sometimes it’s about safety and the future.”
Gallagher also wants people to remain calm during the situation, saying if they need something it’s brought to them.
“It’s not the end of the world. I want everybody to be safe,” he said. “I want everybody to stay home and I want to help.”
De Blasio, citing a need to respond to the coronavirus with a “wartime mentality,” announced Sunday that an executive order limiting restaurants, bars and cafes to food takeout and delivery would go into effect Tuesday at 9 a.m.
“The virus can spread rapidly through the close interactions New Yorkers have in restaurants, bars and places where we sit close together,” de Blasio said in a statement. “We have to break that cycle.”
“This is not a decision I make lightly,” he said. “These places are part of the heart and soul of our city. They are part of what it means to be a New Yorker. But our city is facing an unprecedented threat, and we must respond with a wartime mentality.”
Council Speaker Corey Johnson (D-Manhattan) said in a Sunday tweet that the measure is a “Sad moment for our city but necessary.” Johnson had called for bars to close and for restaurants to only be open for takeout and delivery before the announcement.