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Despite the COVID-19 Uptick, Some Restaurants Forge Ahead With Holiday Parties

Plus, East Village’s Cornerstone Cafe permanently closes down — and more intel

Discarded empty glasses are seen on a table outside a bar.
Not all holiday parties have been canceled in NYC.
Damien Storan/PA Images via Getty Images

The New York Post reports that some Manhattan restaurants, including Amali on the Upper East Side, Isabelle’s in Flatiron, and Loulou in Chelsea, are still hosting holiday parties in the midst of the latest COVID-19 surge sweeping the city. Customers who haven’t canceled their parties are quietly pushing forward with those plans, booking private dining rooms and other secluded spaces to host the events. In some cases, the event hosts are requiring negative tests for entry; conducting temperature checks; and banning attendees from posting on social media during the party, according to the Post.

The latest wave of COVID-19 cases has sent the industry scrambling, with some restaurants choosing to temporarily shut down while staffers get tested or revert to takeout and delivery-only to get through the next few weeks. December is typically a lucrative time of the year for restaurants, where holiday parties and other bookings help generate revenue needed to make it through the quieter winter period in January and February.

Did Santacon play a role in Manhattan’s COVID-19 surge?

EVGrieve pulled together a number of recent reports that are pointing a finger at Santacon — the freewheeling, love-to-hate-it bar crawl that took place in mid-December after a pandemic hiatus last year — and the role that it may have played in fueling the current spike in COVID-19 numbers. Manhattan is recording the highest levels of new cases reported in the five boroughs over the past seven days, according to city data, although the figure is dependent on access to testing across the city.

The restaurateur behind the Russian Samovar dies

Roman Kaplan, the founding restaurateur behind famed Russian establishment the Samovar, in Midtown West, has died of heart failure, the New York Times reports. Kaplan was 83.

East Village’s Cornerstone Cafe shutters

Decade-old, reliable breakfast spot Cornerstone Cafe is permanently closing its doors, EV Grieve reports. The restaurant cited “the Covid pandemic, city mandates, and restrictions” as reasons for the shutdown.

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