Coronavirus Update New York City: Meatpackers struggle as restaurants face uncertain future

Coronavirus update for NYC

Thursday, December 10, 2020
Meatpackers struggle as restaurants face uncertain future
The meatpacking industry is a part of the city's food chain that's on the verge of collapse, especially as rising COVID-19 cases threaten to further restrict how restaurants can serve their customers.

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- Nobody wants the pandemic to be over more than Malik Nieves.

There was a time when his meatpacking company, London Meats, processed 70,000 pounds of meat every week, now, it's barely 30,000.

"We are the backbone of every single restaurant. Every time you sit down in a seat in a restaurant. It's the work of these guys that you're getting on your plate," Nieves said.

His freezer that was once jammed to the ceiling with aging beef now has empty shelves and except for our news van, his loading dock was quiet.

"At this time of year, December gearing towards Christmas you have about 25 guys in here cutting constantly all day long. And now we're down to as you can see, maybe, four guys. And the rest of the guys are still laid off. They've been laid off since March," Nieves said.

The economic shutdown back in March devastated the city's restaurant industry.

Restricted indoor dining that came later was a lifeline, but with COVID-19 infection rates rising once again, Gov. Andrew Cuomo has threatened to suspend indoor dining, again.

For Nieves and his workers, it's the most unkind cut of all.

"They're not gonna make it another day, another minute, another second if there's another close-down. I can guarantee that," Nieves said. People owe me two million dollars right now of receivables that I probably won't be able to collect on. If they close, there's no way to be able to get it."

Nieves is calling for indoor dining at 25% capacity to remain.

The meatpacking industry is another part of the city's food chain that's on the verge of collapse.

Nieves says the outlook is bleak for the restaurant industry and companies like his that depend on it.

Once thriving businesses that might not survive the winter.

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