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Restaurant Unemployment Rates Could Rise Again With New Pandemic Restrictions

Plus, Junzi’s popular Chinese American pop-up Nice Day expands to a second location — and more intel

A sign that reads, “Closed. No gathering after 11pm” is seen outside a restaurant on the East Village as the city continues the re-opening efforts following restrictions imposed to slow the spread of coronavirus on October 14, 2020 in New York City. Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images
Erika Adams is the editor of Eater Boston.

Restaurant industry figures warn that more layoffs could be in the future in light of possible new restrictions

The gains that have been made in recent months to push down the city’s restaurant unemployment rate may disappear soon in light of likely new restrictions that are coming down the pipeline, the City reports.

New York recorded 11,000 restaurant jobs added statewide in October, continuing the industry’s upward employment trajectory as it recovers from the staggering losses that were sustained in March and April during the city’s initial shutdown. But layoffs could be back on the table if the city rolls back indoor dining, among other possible restrictions, several industry figures tell the City.

Restauranteur Terence Tubridy, who owns 14 establishments across Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens says that he’d likely have to permanently shutter some restaurants if the city shuts down again, eliminating several hundred positions with the company. As it stands, the company is operating at only a fraction of its pre-pandemic staff levels, as Tubridy has only re-hired about 150 employees of the 850 that were on payroll before the pandemic hit. New York Hospitality Alliance lawyer Robert Bookman called for more transparency around contract tracing data to prove that the rise in positive COVID-19 cases was stemming in part from restaurants before more restrictions are implemented.

During a press conference yesterday, Mayor Bill de Blasio warned that city restaurateurs should prepare for an indoor dining ban in the next “week or two,” although the state ultimately decides when to apply operating restrictions during the pandemic.

In other news

— Junzi’s popular mid-pandemic Chinese American pop-up Nice Day has expanded. According to a restaurant spokesperson, a second location of Nice Day has opened at 135 West 41st Street, near Bryant Park. Nice Day’s first outpost in Greenwich Village, which opened over the summer, has since become a permanent restaurant.

— Mott Haven’s community fridge is in danger of being shut down after the bodega that it was situated near switched ownership, and the new owner said they didn’t want the refrigerator sitting on their property.

— South Brooklyn’s Highway Bagels received a $5,000 grant from a community bank this week as part of a small business recovery grant program.

— Astoria mainstay Neptune Diner is expanding to new digs in Bayside.

— Mediterranean restaurant Sami and Susu, which launched in Williamsburg over the summer, is now moving to the Lower East Side. The restaurant will share space with longstanding wine bar Ten Bells, at 247 Broome Street, between Orchard and Ludlow Streets. The team is also launching a new delivery service called Friday Night Dinner starting on November 30 that will be available to customers in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens.

— The right way to move into a new neighborhood: