NYC institutions are being forced to close over new large gathering restrictions put in place by NY State Governor Andrew Cuomo last night, including many popular bars and restaurants. The new mandate limits gatherings of 500 or more which in turn affects dining venues with capacity of 500+. And those who have less than 500-person capacity are forced to operate at 50% fullness for the time being as well, although it’s unclear how this will be enforced.
Stalwart dim sum parlor Jing Fong in Chinatown was forced to temporarily close yesterday as well as a result of the mandate. Restaurant owner Claudia Leo jumped on to the company Twitter to squelch rumors that the restaurant was closing for good, posting: “We are TEMPORARILY closed due to Governor Cuomo requesting all large gatherings of 500 or more to be cancelled. We have 800 seats, therefore for everyone’s health and safety, we are closed until Cuomo says it’s OK to gather and party again!!!”
Additionally Danny Meyer just announced via Twitter that all 19 of his Union Square Hospitality Restaurants would temporarily close, effective immediately: “We’ve decided to temporarily close all @USHGNYC restaurants. For those of us whose passion is to bring people together in a spirit of healing, it’s nearly unfathomable to confront the reality that our very purpose could in be a threat to the health & safety of our community.” For now, Shake Shacks will remain open and have offered this statement detailing the extra precautions they are taking to ensure consumer safety.
Large-capacity food halls, venues and events are also being forced to close including the popular multi-food-vendor concept Smorgasburg, posting the following message on their Instagram yesterday: “In light of the Governor’s coronavirus announcement, effective immediately, all markets are being put on hiatus...This is not an easy decision, as hundreds of small business rely heavily on our markets to survive.”
Smorgasburg co-founder Eric Demby says he hopes to reopen all locations by May 1 in time for the outdoor market season, pending how the situation plays out.
Nightlife/restaurant venue Nowadays in Ridgewood, Queens, is also closing beginning tonight, according to an Instagram post, as well as high-end New Nordic restaurant Aska in Williamsburg, announcing they were closing temporarily in a recent Instagram post, as a precaution.
Stay tuned for more updates on restaurant closings as they continue throughout the coming weeks.