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Israeli restauranteurs in New York confident they will survive a trying winter

13 9 15

Israeli restaurant owners in New York are confident they will survive the winter ahead, as the city barred indoor dining and braced for further restrictions aimed at curbing a resurgent coronavirus.

A survey released last week found that 93 percent of Israeli restauranteurs in the city expected their establishment to outlast the pandemic.

“There’s always an opportunity if you are in good spirits. It’s an attitude and I think Israelis do really well because we grew up adapting,” said Albert Bitton, co-owner of Shoo Shoo Nolita in Manhattan.

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The survey by the New York-Israel Business Alliance identified 173 restaurants owned by Israelis in the state, with 85-90% of those in New York City. Thirty owners responded to the survey between October and early December, while new restrictions loomed but had not yet come into effect.

The summer offered New Yorkers some breathing room as infection rates dropped after the devastating spring outbreak and locals flocked to parks and outdoor eateries. In recent weeks, cold weather has driven people indoors and infection rates are again climbing. A woman gets a self coronavirus test at a free walk-up COVID-19 testing site inside Penn Station in New York City, December 5, 2020. (Kena Betancur/AFP)

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said Friday that restaurants must close indoor dining as the state’s test positivity rate hovered around five percent in a significant blow to the industry. Cuomo ordered hospitals to expand capacity last week and asked retired doctors and nurses to return to service. Over 1,700 people in New York City are hospitalized with the virus, triple the number a month ago.

“All the experts predicted cases would go up in the fall and winter, and that’s exactly what’s happening around the country,” Cuomo said on Sunday. “The problem is the cold weather is driving people indoors which in turn is driving more spread.”

Only 1.4% of cases in New York can be traced to restaurants and bars, however. Most cases — 70% — were traced to households and small gatherings, which Cuomo dubbed “living room spread.” The disparity could be partially due to........

© The Times of Israel

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