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Beleaguered by Omicron, New York Operates at Half Speed



And so the city is carrying on, kind of. It still plans to hold a limited Times Square New Year’s Eve ball drop, even as the chairman of the City Council’s Health Committee urged Mr. de Blasio on Wednesday to cancel the celebration — as Rome, Paris and Tokyo have done with theirs. (The midnight fireworks in Prospect Park in Brooklyn have been canceled already.)

Mayor-elect Eric Adams took the celebration plan a step further, announcing on Wednesday that he would take the oath of office in Times Square shortly after the midnight ball drop.

But a survey done by the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce found that 20 percent of the 109 businesses that responded have closed temporarily during the holidays.


And many businesses that remain open are hemorrhaging money. “I’ve probably lost about $1 million” in the last three weeks, said Michael Dorf, founder of City Winery, a restaurant and music venue with locations in New York and other cities. “Kitchens are open, the food is being ordered, but there’s nobody coming in, so the losses are continuing because we’re fully employed.”

Andrew Rigie, executive director of the New York City Hospitality Alliance, which represents thousands of restaurants and nightclubs, said that the long lines to get tested were themselves causing staffing headaches. Many workers, he said, were “waiting on line hours to get test results that took days to get back,” forcing them to miss shifts.

Even so, he said, “we’re still in a much better place compared to last winter, when everything was shut down.” He added, “Nearly two years into the pandemic, I think many people recognize we need to balance these complex risks and live our lives.”

On Broadway “The Music Man” and “Six” are newly closed, after cast members, including Hugh Jackman, the star of “The Music Man,” tested positive. Four other shows just announced they are closing for good early next year, a rapid testing van is parked outside the theater where “Winnie the Pooh” is playing, and more and more roles are being played by understudies.

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