NYC Indoor Dining Restrictions Shut the Door for Student Employment

by Adrianne Hutto, Asst. Production Editor

After months of indoor dining being closed in New York City in response to the surge in COVID-19 cases this winter, Governor Cuomo announced that indoor dining will resume on Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14th, with 25% capacity. However, the closure and restrictions have decreased the number of available jobs in the city. This general decrease also gives students less of a chance of finding employment near campus. 

During the fall semester, I answered the phones at Salvatore’s of Soho on Riverdale Avenue. Before leaving New York for winter break, I spoke with my boss about the possibility of my returning to the position in January, and we made plans for me to do so. Unfortunately, at the start of this semester, I messaged my boss upon my return to New York, and was told that he would not be able to allow me back until indoor dining had reopened in the city. Because many companies can maintain their businesses with smaller staffs, it is harder for new, or returning, employees to get positions. 

Recently, I looked into job availability near Manhattan College’s campus. I called nine different businesses near the school, all family-run restaurants, to see if any of them were hiring. Several delis, fast-food restaurants, and bars exist within walking distance of the school, and there are some grocery stores and pharmacies along the train line. One woman I spoke to suggested looking in Yonkers, since restaurants outside the city can allow indoor dining. While for some, this may seem out of reach, there is public transportation to Yonkers. The Bee-Line, which stops right next to Van Cortlandt Park, can take students from the Bronx to Yonkers on the BXM3 line route. This type of job opportunity might appeal more to students who brought their own cars to campus.

I also spoke with a woman at Asian Tokyo, the Japanese Restaurant on the corner by Horan Hall, who seemed surprised by my interest in applying. Other than those two interactions, however, the other people with whom I spoke told me they simply were not hiring at this time.

As a last resort, I applied to two bookstores, a frozen yogurt chain, and Walgreens. All of these jobs require online applications which are open seasonally. This means that even if the employers were not in need of employees, the businesses still took applications. I have yet to hear back from any of them. 

While it is important to maintain restrictions for COVID, the closure of indoor dining has had an affect on job scarcity. Students who are in need of a job this semester are likely to struggle to find one. Alas, this is not an unheard of result of COVID-19; the current national unemployment rate is at 6.7 percent. 

One can only hope that indoor reopening will allow for more job opportunities for students. However, it is likely that we will not see a return to normalcy until at least the summer. 

Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed in The Quadrangle are those of the individual writers and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Editorial Board, the College or the student body.