Iconic Grand Central restaurant suspends operations due to COVID-19

ByEyewitness News WABC logo
Monday, October 12, 2020
Grand Central's Oyster Bar temporarily closing due to lack of customers
The pandemic has forced the iconic restaurant to temporarily close.

MIDTOWN, Manhattan (WABC) -- The legendary Grand Central Oyster Bar in Grand Central Terminal announced Monday that it is temporarily suspending all restaurant operations, effective immediately.

Officials said the restaurant is closing due to the lack of business caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Outdoor dining was out of the question in the basement of Grand Central, but for months they loaded up on the supplies they needed -- from contactless pay systems to a lot of sanitizer.

The 107-year-old restaurant had just reopened to 25% capacity for indoor dining and take-out on Sept. 30 after a nearly seven-month shutdown.

Executive Chef Sandy Ingber spoke to Eyewitness News before they reopened to the public for the first time.

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"It's a shot in the dark, but we're willing to take the chance," Ingber said in September. "We've sent out a 25,000 email blast last week. This week we already have 90 reservations, which is what we do in an hour."

The Oyster Bar has always thrived on tourism and business from commuters moving through Grand Central Terminal and they say they have been hit especially hard by the pandemic.

President Janet Poccia, executive chef Sandy Ingber, vice president Mohammed Lawal and General Manager Gabriel Moroianu released a joint statement on Monday:

"It has been seven challenging months since we last saw many of you at the Grand Central Oyster Bar. As we re-opened on September 30th, we relished the opportunity to be of service again, and fill your hearts, and ours, with joy, and do what we do best - offer an amazing experience to our beloved New Yorkers and to our friends from all over the world. However, we must, temporarily, close again due to the lack of traffic and business implicitly, caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. We do have a promise for all of you! We will come back stronger and with an even bigger desire to serve you."

They say there is currently not a timeframe for when they could reopen.

The news of the closures comes a week after another NYC institution announced it had laid off its staff and was temporarily closing.

The famed Loeb Boathouse in Central Park laid off 175 employees and shut its doors until it can figure out how to reopen. They say they are planning to reopen next spring.

RELATED | Iconic Boathouse in Central Park lays off staff, closed through 2021

The legendary Loeb Boathouse restaurant in Central Park laid off its staff amid the COVID-19 pandemic and may not reopen until next spring.

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The sense of doom grew, especially after March 1, when the first confirmed case arrived in Manhattan. Soon, there was a hotspot in New Rochelle, and small curfews and containment zones across the area offered a hint of a frightening future we still thought we could avoid.

RELATED: New York, New Jersey, Connecticut out-of-state travelers quarantine list


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