'I foolishly thought we had gotten past this': Several NYC restaurants close amid COVID surge

Diners in New York City.
(Image credit: ED JONES/AFP via Getty Images)

At least a dozen New York City restaurants and bars have temporarily shut down this week amid a city-wide surge in COVID cases, The New York Times reports.

According to the Times, the reported number of new cases in NYC has risen to an average of 3,554 a day, an increase of 135 percent from the average two weeks ago. And according to the CDC, New York and New Jersey are experiencing "the fastest spread of Omicron in the country with the variant now accounting for 13 percent of cases," per Grub Street. All the while, the Delta variant and indoor holiday celebrations continue to further complicate matters for restaurants, who are trying to safely deal with staff infections and exposures during this particularly profitable time of year.

"I feel like it happened in three days," Cat Alexander, owner of Brookyln restaurant Pheasant, told the Times after temporarily closing on Wednesday when an employee tested positive.

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"Everyone this last week is closing because of exposure," added Stephanie Gallardo, co-owner of the shut-down Bushwick bakery Love, Nelly, per Eater. "A lot of these people are places that are very open about being masked all the time, their team is vaccinated, we're doing everything we need to do with the new mandate ... We really can't catch a break." A member of Gallardo's team also tested positive.

The same happened at the now-closed Di An Di in Greenpoint. "I foolishly thought we had gotten past this," remarked Dennis Ngo, one of the owners.

As for what this means for businesses in other states, Harvard University Associate Professor of Epidemiology Bill Hanage offered an ominous warning: "Where New York City is going is where we expect the rest of the country to be."

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