The social landscape amid COVID-19 has transformed virtually overnight, and the NYC restaurant bailout is facing silence. But what can small business owners, especially restaurant owners, do?
Let’s Take a Look at What’s Happening.
New York has been a coronavirus hotbed for some time. Just last week, NYC announced a spike of additional deaths of close to 1000 following the viral infections. This raises the death toll in the state to slightly above 20,000.
In response to the viral infections, Governor Andrew limited restaurant and bar operations to deliveries and takeout. But the infection stigma is making this problematic since many people are afraid of buying infected food or getting the infection from the delivery persons.
Restaurant owners have also been forced to furlough or lay off most if not all of their workers. The result? The 300,000 individuals that work in the industries walloped by the pandemic in New York are in a financial crisis.
With unemployment cases reported to be more than a million in the state, there has been an increase of more than 1000 per cent of jobless claims in some areas in the NY state.
No one knows how much longer this new reality of a prolonged lockdown will exist.
A Machine that Needs Oil
It is no secret that restaurants are a staple in the life of New Yorkers. They act as a social hub where people meet to have good food, relieve stress, and socialize. And now, many restaurant lovers are making it clear that the industry situation is past dire.
Besides, many small business owners are afraid that this might be the end of restaurant businesses as they are known. With many people falling helpless to the circumstances they face, the solution remains to seek the help of state, city, and federal governments through a NYC restaurant bailout.
But in a shocking twist, most of these calls for action from the government are met with silence.
Challenges for the Hotel Industry
Unlike other industries, the hotel industry is one that does not offer its workers any stability. Most workers live from one paycheck to the next. Additionally, these workers lack any health insurance, and if it exists, it is rarely adequate.
Moreover, the only benefits that hospitality industry workers typically benefit from are the unemployment benefits. Sure, the federal and state governments might be providing some form of relief through some of their mandates but that is not nearly enough.
The Shortcomings of the Government
While the NYC mayor was quick to shutdown bars and restaurants, he failed to mention an incentive for actions aimed at saving restaurants. Additionally, there is no clear guidance on how restaurants should manage to overcome the effects of the pandemic.
What many restaurant owners are now trying to do is take advantage of every opportunity available to help them stabilize their business. For instance, some owners are applying for the zero interest loan offered by the city to small businesses that have lost sales of more than 25 percent.
Some are helping their workers apply for the unemployment insurance while others hope to provide sick leave provided by Congress as a relief package to business. However, the small amount of money provided to small businesses in the form of additional sick leave is only a lonely bright spot to the already en masse problem.
Besides, this mandate provided by Congress has several loopholes that might leave most of the unemployed workers out to dry. Moreover, many critics believe that the Trump stimulus package might not help those that need it the most.
For instance, Trump was reported to have made a call to some restaurant CEOs about the ways they can respond to the coronavirus effects. The problem? The representatives were from major fast food restaurants.
What about the people that operate the friendly neighborhood restaurants? When do they get their call? The NYC restaurant bailout needs to go beyond corporate welfare before it is too late to act.
The problems facing restaurant workers and owners are no secret. What is needed is a massive stimulus bill and an immediate action that requires no broker. But with the government remaining adamant on keeping silent, saving the people that work tirelessly to make lives better is becoming a trepidation to disaster.