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'A Slow Death': Restaurant, Gym Owners Worry Looming Shutdown Could Devastate Businesses In New York City

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Mayor Bill de Blasio and Gov. Andrew Cuomo said it's nearly inevitable that New York City will be designated an Orange Zone

They said small businesses will face restrictions, once again, CBS2's Hazel Sanchez reported Thursday.

Fernando Salomone, owner of BeFitNYC fitness center on the Upper West Side, invested all he has into air filtration systems, air quality monitors and building safe zones in his gym.

Membership still plummeted 80%. He said another shutdown would be devastating.

"If we have to close, for me, it's unfair. If I have an inspection, they see, maybe they don't close my gym," Salomone said.


Cuomo and de Blasio made it clear that the city is heading into an Orange Zone, shutting down gyms and closing indoor dining.

"New York City will before long be in that Orange Zone status," said the mayor. "It's just a matter of time. It's very likely to be in the next week or two."

"Shutting down indoor dining is almost the same thing as shutting down dining entirely," said Michael Fuquay, who co-owns The Queensboro restaurant in Jackson Heights, Queens.

Fuquay's restaurant has only been open for two years. Outdoor dining in the summer allowed him to be able to pay bills and bring back some staff.

He's frustrated the city and state may not have his back as fewer customers eat outdoors and indoor dining is possibly shut down.

"They're all kind of washing their hands of it. 'Oh, we feel bad for you. Most of you are gonna lose your businesses, but you've gotta take one for the team,'" said Fuquay.


"Any further limitations or shut downs need to be coupled with financial support for restaurant owners and workers," said Andrew Rigie, of the New York City Hospitality Alliance.

The New York City Hospitality Alliance said 140,000 restaurant workers are currently unemployed. A shutdown would leave 90,000 more without jobs.

Melba Wilson, owner of Melba's Restaurant in Harlem, said she already let more than half her staff go. Wilson said if the federal and state governments don't step in to help, the future for her and all small business owners in the city is bleak.

"Having to do this again... it is a slow death to our industry and to this great city," Wilson said.

If the city is designated an Orange Zone, it's unclear if it will enforce a blanket shutdown of businesses or if there will be a more localized approach.

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