The vast majority of restaurant owners in New York do not expect to turn a profit over the next six months without some form of government aid package for the industry, a New York State Restaurant Association survey found. 

The survey comes as Congress is debating another coronavirus pandemic stimulus measure that could include more aid for small businesses affected by the crisis. 

The food service and hospitality industry remains one of the hardest-hit sectors during the pandemic. Indoor dining is not allowed in New York City, and restaurants that are providing outdoor service must soon contend with increasingly colder weather while operating at lower capacity. 

“Our members have been courageously working and innovating to be successful in this changing landscape," said Melissa Fleischut, the president & CEO of the association. "We are forever grateful to the loyal New Yorkers who have supported their neighborhood and favorite restaurants, without whom this modest success would not be possible. Now we are urging the federal government and the New York State Legislature to show their support for this industry which plays such a vital role in our state’s economy.”

The survey found 89.7 percent of restaurant owners believe it is very or somewhat unlikely their establishments would be profitable for the remainder of the year without government aid.  

The survey also found 93.6 percent of operators experienced lower sales in April to July compared to the previous ear. More than 90 percent of New York restaurant owners have been forced to furlough or layoff workers since the outbreak began in March. More than half have had to layoff or furlough nearly all or nearly all of their employees.

And 74 percent have no plans to hire more workers in the next month. Nearly 1 in 5 restaurants in New York have closed either temporarily or permanently, the survey found. 

The restaurant association pointed to the need for commercial rent relief, business interuption insurance claims being paid out and the need to increase capaicty for indoor dining. 

“Our members are grateful for the leadership Governor Andrew Cuomo has shown in these trying times," Fleischut said. "But we’re still struggling. We are now asking the Governor, the state Legislature and those at the federal level to help us get back on our feet so we can keep our doors open and hire back the hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers that we had to let go. Give us an opportunity to succeed and be a positive impact on our economy."