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Danny Meyer shuts down his restaurants (again) as COVID cases rise

Meyer said all on-premise service at Union Square Hospitality Group restaurants would be suspended to preserve the health and safety of employees.
Union Square Hospitality Group
Photo courtesy of Union Square Hospitality Group

As New York’s leaders debate the fate of restaurant dining in the state, Union Square Hospitality Group on Friday announced that it is reclosing all on-premise service at its New York City locations for the “health and safety of our people” as coronavirus cases mount.

The multi-concept operator, which temporarily shut down all 19 of its New York City restaurants on March 13 during the pandemic’s earliest days, will remain open for pickup, delivery, nationwide shipping and virtual food and wine experiences, according to an update on its website.

“Given the growing number of positive COVID-19 cases in New York City, and even within our own USHG community, we are making the decision that is in the best interest of the health and safety of our people,” USHG CEO Danny Meyer wrote.

Newly shuttered for indoor and outdoor on-premise dining are Union Square Cafe, Gramercy Tavern and Blue Smoke, all of which had been operating at 25% capacity.

Nearly 100 employees were laid off during this shutdown and the restaurants are expected to be closed at least through the remainder of 2020, according to media reports.

“We know there remain many hard weeks ahead of us, but with the recent uplifting announcements of advances in vaccines and treatments, we also know real hope is on the horizon,” Meyer wrote. “The minute weather is behind us and the environment returns to feeling safe, we will eagerly return to on-site dining—first on our sidewalks, and eventually in our dining rooms.”

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