Now that Gov. Andrew Cuomo has dropped most COVID restrictions for NYC and the rest of the Empire State, returning the area to near-normalcy, the New York Post reports that NYC's strip clubs were mobbed by patrons during their first nights of having dancers return to the stages.
The paper reports that strip clubs across the city have been packed this week after Cuomo's announcement that he was lifting COVID restrictions in commercial and social settings. The Post even sent out a reporter, who confirmed that all three locations of the club Sapphire were "packed" as the clubs returned to full capacity for the first time in more than a year. It's a triumph for the NYC clubs, many of which opted to file a joint lawsuit against Gov. Cuomo and the state's liquor authority for ordering them to stay closed while bars started to reopen.
"We were busy!," chief operating operator Michael Wright tells Page Six, explaining that the pandemic was "extremely challenging."
But with mandates dropped, “It means it’s business back to normal,” Wright tells us. "People want contact and to be out of isolation and enjoy and smile and have human contact. I think people are ready to party. The city is ready to party."
It's not that clubs weren't open during the pandemic - they were. But most were limited to restaurant stye seating though more recently dancers started performing on stage at a 12-foot distance. Still, with no "tableside" dancing allowed, clubs were effectively stymied.
Managers are looking forward to welcoming back dancers whom they laid off more than a year ago. Many are eager to get back to work, and collect patrons hard earned money (or government checks, or winnings from AMC or crypto).
“If I get 1,500 performers back to NYC that would be phenomenal,” he tells us. “It’s an aggressive audition and hiring process right now … I am super excited. We will be able to provide people an opportunity to make money again because everybody hurt.”
The manager who spoke to the Post said that their clubs would keep some COVID safety rules in place. For instance, they'll continue taking patients' temperatures.
"We will still be taking temperatures,” Wright tells us, adding, "We have to have some layer of safety for guests and staff. We will of course keep antibacterials and face masks available. Some of that is best practices, not just about COVID."
To be sure, while business may be booming right now, the pandemic has created new adult entertainment alternatives like OnlyFans, which is reportedly raising billions of dollars more in private capital as its "creators" - overwhelmingly women telling nude or otherwise sexually suggestive or explicit photos or videos - cashed in on millions of bored, lonely men, many with government cash to burn.
There's also no word yet as to whether the labor market crunch and expanded benefits, along with the competition from OnlyFans, is enticing more dancers to quit in favor of "working from home" (so to speak).