In late April 2021, things seemed to be going pretty well for New York City. Vaccination rates were strong, and COVID-19 cases were starting to drop. Mayor Bill de Blasio, as such, declared that come July 1, the city would fully reopen and operate restriction-free. That meant no capacity limits on restaurants and more leeway for event venues to welcome back guests, among other things.
But now, it looks like residents of New York City -- and the people who want to visit -- won't have to wait until July. On June 15, New York governor Andrew Cuomo announced that the state would be lifting nearly all coronavirus-related restrictions after reaching an impressive milestone -- having 70% percent of adult residents vaccinated against COVID-19 (as defined by having received at least one vaccine dose).
This development means that capacity limits and restrictions have been lifted in all commercial settings statewide, including office buildings, sporting arenas, retail stores, movie theaters, and dining establishments. And that's very positive news for real estate investors.
A clear path toward recovery
When the coronavirus outbreak first hit U.S. soil, New York City was dubbed its epicenter, and in the course of the past 15 months, the city's real estate market has been battered. Not only have office buildings reached record-high vacancy rates, but many restaurants and small businesses have shuttered permanently due to the revenue losses they suffered over the past year.
Meanwhile, tourism numbers dropped substantially in 2020, dealing a harsh blow to New York's hotel industry. And business travel being largely off the table made things exponentially worse.
But now that New York is back to normal, its full-fledged recovery can begin. At this point, employers are free to bring staff back to the office without having to limit the number of people who can return to their former desks. And that alone could serve as a nice boost for office REITs (real estate investment trusts).
Meanwhile, a lack of restrictions could help drive more tourists back to the city, which could, in turn, help struggling hotels and restaurants. Also, as nightlife opens back up, a lot of the people who fled New York City early on in the pandemic may be tempted to return. Seeing as how residential landlords have been grappling with serious vacancies, an uptick in demand could help bring rental prices back up -- something that may not be the best for tenants in search of a deal but will benefit real estate investors tremendously.
The Millionacres bottom line
All told, there's reason to be hopeful that after a very dark year, New York City has the potential to stage a complete recovery, and perhaps at a faster pace than expected. To celebrate New York's full reopening, firework displays lit up across the state following Andrew Cuomo's announcement, from Jones Beach on Long Island to Albany's Empire State Plaza. But the biggest reward for New York residents and investors isn't a light show -- it's the return to normalcy after so many months of upheaval.