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NYC restaurant owner says business has plummeted by up to 70% as Omicron deters diners

Thomas Makkos said business at his restaurant had fallen by 60% to 70% over the last two weeks.

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  • The owner of a Manhattan restaurant says diners aren’t eating out as much amid Omicron’s spread.
  • Thomas Makkos said business at his restaurant had fallen by 60% to 70% over the last two weeks.
  • Almost a fifth of all NYC coronavirus cases since the pandemic started were reported in December 2021.

The owner of a restaurant in New York City says that diners have stopped eating out as much amid the spread of the Omicron coronavirus variant, causing business to fall by around 70%.

Thomas Makkos, who owns Manhattan Italian restaurant Nello, told Fox Business that there had been “a lot of cancellations.”

“People are very afraid to come out,” he said. “It has created a huge vacuum of cancellations that keep on going.”

Omicron cases are surging globally and it’s become the dominant coronavirus strain in the US. Studies suggest that Omicron is more transmissible than previous variants, though some data indicates its symptoms are milder.

Coronavirus cases in New York City have soared in December. The city has recorded nearly 1.44 million cases since the start of the pandemic, with almost a fifth of those being in December 2021, data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows.

The city’s seven-day moving average hit a record 24,102 cases on Monday, the most-recent day for which CDC data is available. This is almost four times higher than the city’s seven-day moving average at the height of last winter’s peak.

“In the last two weeks, business has gone down 60 to 70%,” Makkos told Fox Business Tuesday.

Makkos also said that the labor shortage, supply-chain chaos, and price increases had made the pandemic difficult for Nello.

He added that the city’s COVID-19 regulations, which included months where indoor dining was off-limits and periods where restaurants could only open dining rooms at 25% capacity, had been “very strict from day one.” Makkos said that the regulations were “catastrophic” and had hurt his restaurant “immensely.”

It’s not just restaurants being affected by rising COVID-19 cases. The New York City Transit Authority said on Sunday that subways would be less frequent because of the COVID-19 surge, which had caused staff sickness. 

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