As soon as the first snowflakes fell in New York on Monday, the restaurateurs realized what awaited them.
Deborah Williamson, owner of James Restaurant in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn, said 50 to 70 percent of her customers now prefer to eat outside. But by January and February, according to her forecasts, “everything will be different.”
“I’m prepared for pretty much anything, and we’ll just take advantage of that and do our best as we move forward. But I really think it will be difficult, ”said Ms Williamson.
While New York is facing a second winter with more outdoor dining, Mayor Bill de Blasio has reinstated a ban on propane heaters, and the recently discovered Omicron variant raises concerns about group activities like eating out. Governor Katie Hochul declared a state of emergency last Friday.
The willingness of New Yorkers to dine outdoors will be tested, said Andrew Righi, chief executive of the New York City Hospitality Alliance. According to him, compared to last year, there are already fewer people on the street.
One reason may be that diners can now eat indoors, unlike last winter when dining halls were closed. However, Rigi hopes that overall this winter will be a better place for restaurants.