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NYC to Allow Indoor Dining at 25% Capacity

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Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that starting on September 30th, New York City restaurants can open for indoor service at 25% capacity.

What We Know:

  • On Wednesday, Cuomo announced that the prohibition on indoor dining in New York City would be lifted on Septemeber 30th, ending its status as one of the few places in the nation still facing a ban. The governor’s decision to allow restaurants to have indoor dining at 25% capacity will be a major milestone in the coronavirus crisis in New York City, giving a boost to the city’s recovery from the pandemic and signaling to tourists and residents alike that the city is slowly returning to normal.

  • The move comes two months after Mayor Bill de Blasio halted a plan that would allow indoor dining at restaurants, citing worries about a resurgence of the coronavirus, which has killed more than 30,000 people in New York State. New York, which was once the epicenter of the pandemic, has stabilized the infection rate at under 1% for more than a month, leading Cuomo to announce he would ease some restrictions.
  • Under the governor’s plan, restaurants would be permitted to use a quarter of their indoor tables. The announcement comes just as the fall weather is expected to put a chill on outdoor service, which began in June. Many across the restaurant industry shared relief at the new plan, sharing it will allow them to keep trying to stay afloat as well as allowing them to hire back more staff. “With 25 percent plus outdoor, I can hire back 50 percent,” said Jean-Georges Vongerichten, the celebrity chef whose flagship restaurant, Jean-Georges, is in Columbus Circle.

“I understand the economic pressure they’ve been under,” Cuomo said. “A restaurant is not just the restaurant owner, its the kitchen staff, wait staff, there is a whole industry around restaurants. And restaurants also pose a possible risk, concentration of people inside with indoor dining.”

  • The new indoor dinging plan has a series of precautions in place, besides a limited capacity:
    • Restaurants will be required to check customers’ temperatures at the door.
    • They must collect contact information for one person in each party for contact tracing.
    • Diners will be required to wear face coverings when not seated.
    • There will be no bar service allowed and the closing time for all restaurants will be midnight.
    • Cuomo also said that the city will provide 400 code enforcers, which could include New York City police officers, in addition to oversight from the New York State Liquor Authority, New York State Police, and other agencies. He also invited diners to anonymously report restaurants where they believe the 25 percent capacity is being violated.
  • The reopening will also come shortly after New York City’s public schools, the nation’s largest school system, will welcome students back inside school buildings on September 21st, another fraught experiment for the city ravaged by the coronavirus. Both de Blasio and Cuomo have shared their hesitancy on reopening part of the city, wary of returning to the nightmare of March and April when the disease was killing hundreds of people a day. The caution seems warranted though as officials across the state have said about 10 percent of coronavirus clusters outside of New York City have been tied to bars and restaurants.

Cuomo said that the state would continue to monitor infection rates after the September 30th reopening, with a plan of increasing capacity to 50 percent by November 1st. He also warned that any spike in infections could lead to sudden closures via an “emergency pause button”. According to a City Hall official, indoor dining will be reassessed should the infection rate in the city go past 2 percent.

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Under Armour Launches Curry Brand

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Under Armour is launching an offshoot brand for their biggest star athlete: Stephen Curry.

What We Know:

  • Under Armour announced the launch of Curry Brand on Monday. Steph Curry and Under Armour have a longstanding relationship and he is their most visible and popular athlete.
  • The new line will feature athletic apparel for a number of sports, mainly basketball and golf. Curry Brand’s first basketball sneakers will be available starting December 11. Curry has said that playing multiple sports growing up was a big part of his development.

“I always played other sports, got exposed to a lot of different skill sets and people, and that was big in my development. I feel like whatever a kid is interested in, we want to be able to present an opportunity to kind of live that out. We are going to start with basketball, and we want to make sure we have the product, programming and the arenas they would be able to go to and participate and hopefully scale out and brand out from there.” – Steph Curry

  • Under Armour hopes that Curry Brand will help them reach younger consumers like their competitor Nike. According to Piper Sandler’s biannual survey, Nike is far and away the favorite apparel brand for teens whereas Under Armour is on the “no longer worn” list.
  • Curry Brand will act similar to Nike’s relationship with the Jordan Brand. Michael Jordan was the face of the NBA and Nike for a long time and Jordan Brand has become one of the most iconic brands of all time. Under Armour is hoping that Curry’s status as one of the best and most popular players in the NBA will help the brand grow.
  • Curry has played his entire career with the Golden State Warriors and is largely recognized as the greatest shooter of all time and one of the best players ever. He is a two-time league-MVP and three-time NBA Champion. He will also be the highest-paid player in the NBA this season, slated to earn just over $43 million for 2020-2021.

The Curry Brand will also partner with the Oakland Unified School District and Positive Coaching Alliance to improve youth access to sports, particularly in lower-income communities.

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Thanksgiving Day Online Sales Hit Record $5.1 Billion

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As the coronavirus pandemic continues into the holidays, many shoppers are turning to online retail. This influx of customers has led to record sales. 

What We Know: 

  • According to Adobe Analytics data, Thanksgiving Day sales hit a new record. Thanksgiving saw a record $5.1 billion spent, increased spending of almost 22% from last year. Adobe analyzed traffic and transactions from 80 of the top 100 U.S. online retailers. 
  • To precaution traditional holiday traffic, many retailers have extended their Black Friday deals. Stores have done this in hopes of discouraging customers from rushing into stores for only one day. 
  • Customers seem to be avoiding stores all together by buying online. The Adobe Analytics Holiday Forecast 2020 predicts that online holiday spending will surpass $189 billion this year. In surveys conducted by Adobe, one-third of customers will be done with their holiday shopping by Black Friday. In another survey, Adobe predicts that 51% of customers plan to support small businesses on Small Business Saturday. 
  • Taylor Schreiner, Director of Adobe Digital Insights, commented, “We are seeing strong growth as consumers continue to move shopping from offline to online this year. New consoles, phones, smart devices, and TVs that are traditional Black Friday purchases are sharing online shopping cart space this year with unorthodox Black Friday purchases such as groceries, clothes, and alcohol, that would previously have been purchased in-store.” 
  • Black Friday also saw new records. Customers spent $9.03 billion this year compared to last year’s $7.4 billion. This is an increase of 21.6% from last year. Hot items include video game consoles and videogames, LEGOs, Barbies, Hot Wheels, and technology such as Airpods, Apple Watches, Amazon Echos, Samsung TVs, and HP Laptops. 

With the pandemic staying persistent into the winter, it seems that more customers will gravitate towards online shopping rather than the traditional brick and mortar option. Overall, Adobe predicts a 20% to 30% increase in online sales from last year. 

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Florida Walmart Evacuated after Black Friday Parking Lot Fire

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Hernando County Sheriff's deputies evacuated the Brooksville, Florida, Walmart after a fire in a parking lot close to the building. Hernando County Sheriff's Office

Black Friday got off to a real blow-up in Florida due to a trailer exploding outside a Walmart just a few minutes after opening for deal seekers.

What We Know:

  • Hernando County Sheriff’s office described that a sheriff’s officer was already located outside the store in Brooksville to control a possible stampede of customers when he heard an explosion just after Walmart opened at 5 am.
  • After hurrying to the scene and reviewing the three parked tractor-trailers, the deputy was able to help the only occupant to safety. The fire seemed to have started in one of the trailers, then spread to the nearby two trailers as fire squads arrived at the scene.

  • The department stated in a Facebook post:

“As other deputies arrived on scene, they responded to the store to assist with evacuating the store, as the three tractor-trailers were parked very close to the building.”

  • Officials later stated in a post that after the fire was extinguished, customers were finally allowed in at 8 am, three hours after the original opening time.
  • The sheriff’s office mentioned it was not clear what caused the explosion, which is still being investigated. Fortunately, there were no injuries as a result of the explosion/fire.
  • It was not immediately known how many customers had been trying to get into the store at the time, with many reports perceiving there was not the usual rush of deal seekers this year among the pandemic.

According to Adobe Analytics, which measures sales at 80 of the top 100 US online retailers, Black Friday was predicted to generate $10 billion in online sales, a 39 percent boost from last year. On the Monday after Thanksgiving, Cyber Monday is expected to remain the biggest online shopping day of the year with $12.7 billion in sales, a 35 percent jump.

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