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COVID In NYC: Business Owners On Edge With Another Possible Shutdown Looming, Say They Need Compensation To Stay Afloat

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Many New York City business owners are on edge as the possibility of another shutdown looms.

The city reported 118 new COVID-19 hospitalizations and more than 1,300 new cases Saturday. The infection rate for the seven-day average is 3.11%.

Mayor Bill de Blasio says this weekend is critical if we are to avoid another round of restrictions.


Owners of salons are troubled by the city's rise in coronavirus cases.

"We are concerned. The whole business community is concerned," said Frank Arcabascio, owner of Redken Saloon Salon in Astoria.

A higher than 3% positivity rate citywide brings a vast Orange Zone designation that shuts down personal care businesses.

Owners of salons are troubled by the city's rise in coronavirus cases. (Credit: CBS2)

"Phone calls started coming in. 'Frank, you think we're going to have a shutdown?' And my first answer is, 'I don't know.' So they're like, 'Can you fit me in 'cause I'm afraid I won't see you for a long time,'" Arcabascio told CBS2's Dave Carlin.

Hell's Kitchen resident Dia Firdaus says getting her nails done makes her feel better in these troubled times, so she doesn't like the thought of her favorite salon closing.

"That makes me sad because then I have to do it myself," she said.

Gyms would also be forced to temporarily close. Hell's Kitchen resident Antony Ware was inside one Saturday, prepared to work out at home when the time comes.

"I think this is next, but during the last shutdown, I bought a whole bunch of of gym equipment, so my living room is full of dumbbells and weights and everything right now, so I'll go back to that," he said.

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For restaurant owners, the customers they've been allowed to bring back inside at 25% capacity would go back to being outside or ordering for pick-up or delivery.

"It looks like it's inevitable, you know, that it's going to come," said Sean Hayden, owner of Alfie's NYC.

Thomas Greco is fighting one of the biggest battles of his life, trying to keep his restaurant, K Rico South American Steakhouse in Hell's Kitchen, open during the pandemic.

"I have my life savings in a restaurant that I want to keep alive," he said.

Watch Dave Carlin's report -- 

News of potentially losing indoor dining as early as next weekend scares him.

"If we go into another shutdown, to be honest with you... I'm getting choked up about it, but I'd probably have to close my business," Greco told CBS2's Cory James.

That's why Joanna Thomas ate at her favorite spot Saturday night.

"We know that things are a little dicey with establishments, and we want to give them our business," she said.

Some restaurant owners say any shutdown of indoor dining in colder temperatures just won't cut it. Recent days of cold weather and rain showed them customers may not stick around for only outdoor dining in the coming months.

"It's too cold. You can build whatever you want outside and have whatever heaters, it's not going to make any difference," Hayden said. "No, it's not doable. If they shut us down again, I'm leaving it closed until March or April of next year or until the vaccine comes in."

RELATED STORY -- Tri-State Area Officials Sound Alarms As Coronavirus Shutdowns Likely To Impact Holiday Season

Additionally, Sebastian Preda, manager of Frankie and Johnnie's in Midtown, says money invested to reopen indoors at 25% capacity will go to wastes. He and many others hope any negative change will be short-lived.

"If they decide to close, I would hope that it would not be more than two weeks, three weeks the most," Preda said.

"There's only so much longer we can hold on," Greco said.

Owners are frustrated by the lack of government financial aid, and they want more of a heads up.

"We have a mayor and a governor, who... The mayor makes an announcement at 10 o'clock, and then the governor makes a different announcement at 11 o'clock, so there's no guidance," Hayden said.

"If you are going to shut us down, give us compensation," Arcabascio said.

They say they need money from Washington, Albany and the city to keep them afloat until a vaccine gets here.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo says if New York City hits the Orange Zone status, they're not ruling out the possibility of focusing on the micro-cluster concept to avoid disrupting the economy. That would mean businesses that are not in hotspot locations could likely stay open.

A final decision, however, has not yet been made.


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