- While tourists have begun to return, foot traffic into Grand Slam souvenirs is still lower than before the coronavirus pandemic.
- When hordes of international visitors crowded under the canopy of electric billboards just outside his door.
David Cohen long yearned to return to the days when his family’s Times Square souvenir shop was booming.
However, the return of foreign tourists to a city known as the “world’s crossroads” may hasten the recovery of enterprises like his, many of which are mom-and-pop stores that employ thousands of people and are one of New York City’s most important economic engines.
After the United States began accepting vaccinated international tourists into the country this month, Cohen said, “We welcome them back with open arms.” But, “We still have a hard way to go.”
Times Square has long been a symbol of New York’s frantic pace. According to The Times Square Alliance, a district civic association, 9 out of 10 businesses in the neighborhood shuttered when Broadway theatres closed. As a result, the city became an early epicenter of the global pandemic.
As Broadway began to resume to vaccinated-only audiences, three-quarters of the area’s businesses have gradually reopened. Businesses that don’t appeal directly to tourists but are part of the city’s entertainment economy are among those hoping to reopen.
Sam Vasili’s Shoe Repair, closed for three decades due to the pandemic, reopened last month across 51st Street from the Gershwin Theater. On the other hand, Chinese visitors may decide to stay put for the time being due to quarantining requirements in their home country at least two weeks when returning from an overseas trip.
“Daytrips and domestic tourists are helping Broadway, museums, and restaurants,” said New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli. “However, New York will not be able to return to pre-pandemic levels of visitors until international tourism returns in full.”
“Reopening America’s borders is a big help, but other factors outside of our control make it difficult to predict when we’ll be back to the numbers we had before the world shut down.”
Source: Indian Express New
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