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Times Square Shooting Has Area Business Owners Wondering If They Can Stay Afloat Amid Citywide Surge In Gun Violence

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- A shooting in Times Square on Saturday caused concern for some business owners who are struggling to stay open.

A number of them say they're barely holding on from the impact of the pandemic, and now a surge in gun violence is making them wonder if they will stay afloat.

"Today we had a lot of cancellations, no shows," said Ciro Heta, the manager of Tony's.

The long-time Italian restaurant on West 43rd Street is around the corner from where gunfire broke out Saturday afternoon. Three people, including a 4-year-old girl, were shot.

"I'm afraid that this kind of incidents will scare people away, especially the Tri-State Area, the New Jersey, Connecticut. We have a lot of theatergoers," Heta told CBS2's Cory James.

The shooting in Times Square has Yusef Bell questioning the senseless violence plaguing New York City.

"Three innocent people got shot for nothing today," he said.

He is worried it will also impact tourism.

"People don't know how to act and then they start shooting all over the place," he said. "Why would someone want to come to a dangerous place?"

The Times Square area accounts for 15% of the city's economy.

In April, the NYPD unveiled a new unit that will patrol the Crossroads of the World to help with the road to reopening.

But Sen. Brad Hoylman believes more needs to be done.

"We have to crack down on guns at the federal and the state level. We need to ensure that gun manufacturers are held liable for these types of tragedies. The number of guns and gun sales have proliferated during the pandemic. Legislators have to take action," he said.

So far, shootings are up 83% in comparison to this time last year.

Some tourists say it's not troubling. A family visiting from Houston, Texas, said it won't stop them from coming back.

"It happens everywhere, you know what I mean? It's not just here in New York," one man said.

But it is bothering NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea, who is fed up with the violence.

"How many kids have to be shot before we take this seriously? We just had a 1-year-old homicide cleared this week. How many more kids do we need to be shot before we realize that bad policies have consequences? And we need action, and we need policies regarding laws to have consequences," he said.

This time last year, we were looking at about 260 shooting victims in New York City.

Right now, we are at more than 460 shooting victims.

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