NYC area restaurants had record decline in visits during COVID-19 pandemic

Coronavirus update for NYC

ByEyewitness News via WABC logo
Friday, January 14, 2022
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Marcus Solis has more on the decline in restaurant visits during the pandemic.

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- New York City area restaurants saw record declines in visits from January 2020 to the end of 2021, according to ABC analysis of data provided by Safegraph.

The five boroughs and surrounding suburban counties lost, in the first days of 2020, an average 64% of their foot traffic to local restaurants.

Over the course of the pandemic, the city's restaurants saw an average total decline of 32.6%.

The COVID-19 pandemic flattened business throughout the city, and among the hardest hit were its restaurants.

Collectively, they were the largest sector by the amount for Federal Paycheck Protection Program loans, according to Eyewitness News data analysis.

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Suburban Rockland, Westchester, Orange, Nassau, and Suffolk counties saw fewer declines in long-term foot traffic, dropping only an average of 28% from 2020 to the end of 2021.

The biggest losses were during the first lockdown of New York State. By April of 2020, restaurants were on the upswing.

Coincidentally, to-go cocktails were then allowed in the city, a move the current governor replicated since it ended last summer.

Foot traffic was on the rise at the end of the lockdown, but the winter surge in 2021 knocked traffic back down again.

Much like in 2020, April through October saw a rise in traffic.

Suffolk County bucked the trend and increased foot traffic to pre-pandemic levels during April-October, prior to the omicron variant surge.

Nassau County also saw a brief return to normal during October as well.

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