New York City has been the epicenter of the Coronavirus pandemic since March 2020. The city has been under stay-at-home orders since March 7, 2020 and it has obviously effected the businesses of the city greatly.
Of course, different sectors are going to be affected differently. Are some sectors relatively unaffected? We talked to a few business owners to see how they were faring during this unprecedented time.
Home Service Sectors (Plumbers, Roofers, etc.)
We spoke with Josh from 24 Hour Plumber NYC about how he was faring during the Pandemic. This is what he had to say:
“Personally, I’ve had friends and family who have come down with COVID-19, and it’s been tough to see them suffering. Thankfully I haven’t lost anyone to the virus, and I hold out hope that we will all get through this relatively unscathed. On the business side of things, we have seen a contraction. A big portion of our customer base are business owners in and around downtown manhattan, such as restaurants, bars, and office buildings. With the state-wide shutdown, we’ve seen a reduction in calls from these customers.
“However, we have seen an increase in residential calls, perhaps because more people are spending their time and using their facilities at home. It hasn’t quite made up for the reduction in business calls, but it has been a nice bump.”
Intuitively this might make sense. People will always need plumbers, whether at home or at work.
Professional Services (Lawyers, etc)
We spoke with Edward Ditomasso of DiTomasso and DiTomasso, a law firm in downtown Manhattan, about his experience with the Pandemic:
“To sum it up: Courts are closed. This means that work pretty much comes to a standstill. With the exception of some consulting on employment law as clients deal with layoffs, PPP programs and unemployment insurance, the bulk of work has been put to a stop.
“However, unlike some other unfortunate sectors, like restaurants and bars, we do expect the demand to build up. We have a backlog of hearings and appeals that will need to be done when the courts open back up. Nonetheless, rent and bills are still due, so we’ve had our fair share of stress while waiting it out.”
Restaurants and Bars
Perhaps obviously, the hardest hit area of city businesses has been the restaurants and bars. These restaurants are the life blood of the service industry, with full service restaurants employing upwards of 160,000 New Yorkers as of 2019 (and that seems like an underestimation).
We spoke with several restraurant workers and owners about the Pandemic and the feedback was pretty grim, as expected:
“I don’t know what I’m going to do. A rug has been pulled out from under me. I hope my landlord will give me a break on the rent.”
“I had to lay off all 15 of my employees, which was extremely hard. I am working with them to make sure they get their unemployment, and that alone as been a full time job. I hope the business survives and I can hire them all back ASAP.”
So as you can see, this shutdown is rippling through society at different rates and in different ways. We will have to wait and see how long the shutdown will continue to last and how fast businesses can bounce back (if at all). Governor Cuomo recently extended the shutdown to the middle of June.