New York Governor Andrew is tightening restrictions on bars and restaurants as the rate of COVID-19 infection continues to rise in New York. Cuomo said that all restaurants and bars across the country will have to close at 10 pm, starting on Friday. (November 13)

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Following the end of the pandemic this spring, Shirin Raza set up outdoor tables where customers at her Bar Shiru could order cocktails such as Tokyo Traffic or a flight of whiskey.

But the approaching winter will soon put an end to outdoor seating at the Oakland Bar, California, which she co-owns with her husband. She set about buying heat lamps to make herself comfortable with customers, but could not justify the $ 10,000 cost.

Not only is she worried about surviving the winter as her bar shifts to export orders, but she is also worried about her staff, who have already been laid off to four of the 10 employees before the pandemic. She adds that she is optimistic that she will find resources to maintain her salary, but her worries increase in the absence of more incentive assistance.

“The biggest thing we’re stressed and worried about is what this means for the team, especially in the absence of any aid package,” Raza said, citing a lack of additional federal government funding. “If the aid doesn’t work, I don’t plan to have the money to keep it, unfortunately.”

Raza is not alone in her worries. Many hospitality and retail businesses in colder regions such as New England and the Midwest will face challenges as winter sets in, according to a recent economic study by Gusto, a company that provides payroll and other business services. .

At the same time, the hotel business faces another set of challenges.

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There is a lack of additional stimulus funding that could help purchase cold weather equipment or keep staff afloat, as well as a resurgent pandemic that is pushing lawmakers across the country to impose new restrictions. For example, Vermont has ordered its bars to close personal services by Dec. 15, and California has imposed a curfew at 10 p.m. in some affected counties. The Los Angeles County took a step forward this weekend by deciding to close all restaurants, breweries and bars for at least three weeks, starting on Wednesday, when COVID cases jumped.

These actions have sparked warnings from economists and industry groups that the restaurant and hotel industry could face a grim winter.

“Tens of thousands of additional bankruptcies in restaurants – and millions of job losses – are now more likely” due to new state restrictions, according to a November 17 letter from the National Restaurant Association to the Association of National Governors.

Almost 3 million jobs could be lost

Between 1.4 million and 2.8 million jobs, which have been restored since April, could be lost by the effects of winter weather, with many losses expected to affect restaurants, retail and other hotel businesses, Gusto said. in his analysis. His economist, Luke Pardi, told the United States today that he now believes potential job losses “have moved more than 2.8 million.”

He added: “The estimate of 1.4 million is based on the arrival of cold weather and the lack of help for shops, bars and restaurants to continue to operate. The significant jump in cases and the new restrictions – with no aid yet – are likely to lead to a much wider decline in economic activity. “

Certainly some restaurants are investing in equipment that will allow them to continue serving outdoors even in extreme weather. Some establishments create “bubbles” outdoors or small tents to keep out the cold air, says Justin Hill, director of design firm MG2, whose clients include restaurants and retailers.

But deciding whether to invest in such equipment is “the hard part for many of these restaurants,” Hill said. “As they struggle, they may need to invest more to try to survive or stop.”

COVID closes 19,000 restaurants

In August, more than 19,000 restaurants were closed permanently, according to a Yelp analysis. The arrival of winter can particularly affect smaller American cities, which are more dependent on restaurants and other hotel businesses, Gusto predicts. For example, Eastern Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania and Santa Fe, New Mexico, are among the cities with the coldest weather with the greatest economic risk, given that about 4 out of 10 workers in those cities work in retail, entertainment or hospitality, found their analysis.

Some store owners say they receive support from customers.

Susan Cameron, owner of florist Stems Brooklyn, who was affected by the loss of weddings and other events when the pandemic struck, notes that “much of our customer base is aware that they need to shop small if they want to keep their business around, “

But Raza of Bar Shiru says more help is needed from lawmakers. She says she will continue to push for more stimulating funding, but adds that she is hesitant between hope and “unbridled pessimism”.

“Whatever people do to remember that the hospitality industry is among the hardest hit at the time and has the hardest path to revenue, that they remember all those spaces that have provided them with an amazing culture and community. “, Says Raza, adding that” if you want them around then, support your local places and chip in. “

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