Coronavirus New York: legendary pizzeria reopens and struggles to reopen

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GREENWICH VILLAGE, Manhattan (WABC) – At John’s Pizzeria on Bleecker Street, it’s not just unparalleled charcoal brick pizza, it’s memories and almost century-old history that make the charm.

“We do a minimal amount of takeout, but we weren’t really that kind of business. We get a lot of tourists, a lot of locals, ”says David Frank.

When Eyewitness News first spoke to John’s Pizzeria two months ago, they were wondering how to survive.

Then, a few days later, three of their employees lost family members due to COVID-19.

As a result, the margins no longer matter.

“We have guys who have been here for 25 years, 30 years – so everyone knows everyone – it’s like losing yourself and a family member and crying with them,” added Frank .

However, after closing for five weeks last week, workers felt safer. Now they are making pies again.

Meanwhile, there have been discussions between city officials and city council to allow restaurants and bars to sprawl on the sidewalk and in public spaces. On Bleecker Street, there isn’t a lot of space to do this – so the idea is to turn the streets into a food court.

“Some restaurant and bar owners who called small businesses last night. They argue that it could make a difference, “said Frank.

A NYC Hospitality Alliance survey found that two-thirds of restaurants and bars will need at least 70% occupancy to reopen.

“If we want to have mass customers inside, we will have to generate more revenue by having more customers outside,” said Andrew Rigie.

Back at John’s – business is nowhere to be.

“This place is for serving pizza to the world, so when the doors are closed, it’s weird,” added Frank.

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