All of the NYC Union Square Hospitality Group businesses will join the list of restaurants that will temporarily close in light of the COVID-19 crisis, according to staffers at multiple restaurants.
With more than 20 restaurants in multiple cities, the Danny Meyer-run company is one of the biggest groups yet to announce a wider shut down. Restaurants Untitled and the Modern, which attached to museums that announced closures on Thursday, are ending service, but the company’s standalone restaurants will also be temporarily closing their doors. Businesses include fine dining restaurants like Gramercy Tavern, the more casual barbecue spot Blue Smoke, and counter-service cafe Daily Provisions. The D.C. restaurants will also close. Staffers told Eater that exact timing for reopening would be determined later.
“This decision brings with it very real sacrifices for our team, but I feel it is necessary that USHG do our part to prevent the spread of this pandemic,” Meyer said in a statement. “By fully facing this storm today, we all hope to return to serving our community sooner than later.”
Other restaurateurs are opting to shut down instead of staying open at the half-capacity mandated by the state on Thursday, including Eric Ripert, who announced that his luxe seafood tasting restaurant Le Bernardin would also shut down for at least two weeks.
As the impact of restaurant closures ripples out to more people in the community, nonprofit Rethink Food NYC’s executive director Matt Jozwiak says there is lots of demand for meals and asks any corporate kitchens and closing restaurants to donate excess food or extra to-go containers to those in need.
Though the city has offered no-interest loans for small businesses, restaurant groups and restaurateurs say that alone is not nearly enough to help soften the blow of the public health crisis’s anticipated financial impact. Measures for hospitality workers who will likely lose their job include free legal help if they face eviction, but labor advocates also say more needs to be done, such as expanded paid sick leave.
This story has been updated with more closings and new information.