Opinion | Will Bars Exist in NYC After the Coronavirus?


On March 13, as New York City schools let out for what turned out to be their last official day and offices were telling their employees to work from home, I came down with an ominous fever and chills, and my business partner and I closed our two Brooklyn bar-restaurants. By the next week I would be diagnosed with Covid-19, and the week after that I would develop pneumonia. I spent four weeks bedridden, isolated from my family, at times immobilized with terror that I wouldn’t survive the night. When the virus released its grip and I could finally sit up in bed, my first impulse was to email my staff: We’re back in business!

We weren’t. Far from it.

I have worked in the restaurant industry for 41 years, as a server, a bartender and, for the past 22 years, an owner. We have weathered upheavals, 9/11, the downturn of 2008 and Hurricane Sandy. But the food and beverage service industry has been hit harder than almost any other in this pandemic, accounting for 60 percent of the jobs lost in March.

By Toby Cecchini

2020-05-22 05:00:19

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