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Danny Meyer's Union Square Hospitality Group temporarily closes all New York operations

Group founder says move is to ensure safety of staff and customers

Union Square Hospitality Group has joined the growing number of restaurant groups that have decided to temporarily cease all of their operations in New York City in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Danny Meyer, founder of the restaurant group, issued the following statement. 

“We are living in uncharted territory with no preexisting roadmap or compass except for how we do business: nothing matters more than the safety and health of our team members, guests, and the communities in which we do business. With all that we now know about Federal, State, and City-wide mandates, as well as the science that has provided evidence urging everyone to reduce non-essential social contact, we have made the difficult, but for us, obvious decision to temporarily close our restaurants in New York City.

“For those of us who find our purpose and passion in bringing people together in a spirit of healing, it is nearly unfathomable to confront the reality that the very thing at which we thrive could in these times be a threat to the health and safety of our community. This decision brings with it very real sacrifices for our team, but I feel it is necessary that USHG do our part to prevent the spread of this pandemic. By fully facing this storm today, we all hope to return to serving our community sooner than later.”

USHG is just the latest group to close restaurants in the face of the pandemic. Seattle restaurateur Tom Douglas said he would be closing 12 of his 13 restaurants after dinner service on Sunday, March 15.  

Another Seattle-based restaurant group, Fire & Vine Hospitality said it was closing nine of its 12 restaurants. It’s three operations in Walla Walla, Wash., are remaining open.

Seattle and New York City are currently among the cities hardest hit by the COVID-19 outbreak.

However, although Douglas said he would lay off his employees until reopening, USHG said it would explore other expense-saving measures before considering layoffs and would at any rate continue to pay staff for the hours scheduled through the current pay week.

Contact Bret Thorn at [email protected] 

Follow him on Twitter: @foodwriterdiary

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