Friday Dispatch: Delta Variant On The Upswing, But So Are Restaurants

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Chinatown Restaurant
Chinatown Restaurant, photo by Khachik Simonian on Unsplash
Chinatown Restaurant
Chinatown Restaurant, photo by Khachik Simonian on Unsplash

Unfortunately we were a little under the weather and thus attended last night’s SoHo/Noho Working Group public hearing virtually instead of in person; the video and audio both dropped out a few times so we completely missed a few minutes here and there, while others were fuzzy enough that we didn’t get the names of most speakers, but we’re writing up our report of the meeting anyway and publishing it here on Monday.

Public Service Announcement: the last two weeks have been pretty brutal heat-wise and global warming is only going to make things worse over time, so we recommend you pay attention to the main metric that increases the risk of heat stroke the most: humidity. When wet-bulb temperature—the effective temperature in the sun, vs the heat index, which is the effective temperature in the shade—exceeds 95°F, our bodies are no longer able to cool down enough with sweat because nothing’s evaporating. Just drinking water won’t help at that wet-bulb temperature, you must stay somewhere cool and be cognizant of the warning signs and symptoms of heat stroke. Heat stroke can easily be deadly, especially in the elderly. (WSJ)

Bad news: the far more easily transmissible Covid-19 Delta variant is responsible for over a quarter of new NYC Covid cases, and that number is only going to keep rising—it’s up from 17% last week, which is itself a massive increase from just under 5% a month or so ago. Delta is already the dominant variant in infections across the US, and less than 60% of Americans are fully-immunized. (NBC)

While we’re talking about Covid, Gizmodo just put together their list of the worst charlatans of the pandemic, people who “took advantage of the situation to peddle misinformation and exploit a broken system”. Oh, and if you know anyone who still hasn’t been vaccinated, Walgreens will give them a $25 gift card following their vaccination at Walgreens—our Duane Reade (owned by Walgreens) at Broadway and Grand gives vaccinations and you can schedule an appointment online or just walk in and get one during pharmacy hours.

Also bad: three people have been killed in hit-and-runs this week as traffic deaths continue to rise as they have over the last year, even though there are fewer cars on the road. City cyclists will tell you the easiest way to get away with murder in NYC is hitting someone with a car because almost no one is ever arrested, let alone charged, for what most of us would recognize as vehicular homicide. (Gothamist)

Okay, here’s some good news: according to a new study, 85% of the 300 responding restaurants across the country reported that they’re now in a better place financially than they were pre-pandemic; the main reasons being alcohol delivery sales and expanded outdoor dining. A whopping 90% see their business doing well in a year! The study was commissioned by Uber Eats and DoorDash, so take it with a grain of salt or three—but it does track with what we’ve been hearing privately from friends in the industry. (AMNY)

Finally, if you’ve not got plans this Sunday and would like to eat outside, the New York Adventure Club is running a Chinatown food crawl led by Greenwich Village born-and-raised tour guide Michael Morgenthal with two different time slots, 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Your $45 ticket gets you a walking tour of Chinatown steeped in local history plus food tastings at every eatery the tour stops at, “from scallion pancakes and dumplings, to beef jerky and steamed buns”.

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