There’s an expensive new addition to City Winery’s menu of appetizers — a mandatory $50 COVID-19 nasal swab.
The restaurant and performance space at Hudson River Park announced in an email Wednesday it will charge customers $50 for a rapid coronavirus test prior to entry. The “pilot testing program” will only take place on Tuesdays and Wednesdays starting next week.
“What does this ‘new normal’ look like? The cost of the test will be $50 per diner...Upon arrival, guests will participate in our mandatory wellness check, then receive a shallow nasal swab by a certified practitioner, a glass of City Winery Bubbles, and be asked to wait the 10-15 minutes for their results,” the announcement read. “If the rapid result is negative, the guest will be welcome to enter, mask in place, and continue to practice all proper socially distanced protocols.”
Rapid COVID-19 tests, which produce results within 24 hours, are available for free around the city.
The City Winery wrote in an email to customers that the pilot was an attempt to find “the next level of safety for people to dine indoors.” Employees will also take the daily tests, meaning everyone in the building will have tested negative for COVID-19 that day.
The move comes amid an ongoing crisis in the city’s restaurant industry, which is only expected to worsen as winter reduces the number of customers willing to eat outside.
A whopping 88% of city restaurants were unable to pay full rent in October, according to the NYC Hospitality Alliance. Currently, restaurants must close at 10 p.m. and indoor capacity is limited to 25%.
Andrew Rigie, executive director of the Alliance, says the city’s restaurant industry is on “life support.” His group is advocating for the Senate to pass legislation bailing out eateries around the country. The money would help restaurants cover rent and payroll during the pandemic. The so-called The Restaurants Act has already passed the House of Representatives.
The City Winery did not respond to an inquiry.
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