The Gaf is closed while the staff receives Covid tests/Upper East Site
The Gaf is closed while the staff receives Covid tests/Upper East Site

Covid Concerns Prompt Popular Upper East Side Bars, Gym to Temporarily Close

MANHATTAN – Hour by hour, one after another, Upper East Side restaurants, bars and fitness centers announced their closure for the coming days or even weeks as the surge in Covid cases and lack of adequate number of testing sites— many proprietors say they’re taking extreme measures out of an abundance of caution, rather than a known risk of exposure— as Covid transmission rates skyrocket in Manhattan, with the virus spreading rapidly like a wildfire through a dry forest. 

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“To be on the safe side and to try to do the right thing, The Gaf will not be open today,” the popular Second Avenue hang-out announced Monday afternoon, adding the staff would “take a little time off to get some tests and make sure everyone is okay.” 

The Gaf is closed while the staff receives Covid tests/Upper East Site
The Gaf is closed while the staff receives Covid tests/Upper East Site

A handwritten sign in all caps hanging on the front door of the darkened bar reads “CLOSED. STAFF WAITING TO GET COVID TESTS.” 

Head down Second Avenue to the corner of East 76th Street you’ll find the same thing— a neighborhood fixture, in this case, the Stumble Inn, also dark, its doors locked. 

A sign on the door to the Stumble Inn reads “to keep our staff and guests safe, we will be closed for the next week.” 

The Stumble Inn is closed through Christmas Day/Upper East Site
The Stumble Inn is closed through Christmas Day/Upper East Site

On Instagram, the bar explained “with omicron coming at NYC from all angles,” it decided this was the right move to protect everyone. The Stumble Inn expects to be back open the day after Christmas.

Bars and restaurants are not the only ones taking extreme steps out of an abundance of caution to protect customers and staff— at least one gym chain is also closing down due to Covid concerns and won’t reopen until the new year.

Sign on the door of the Stumble Inn announcing closure/Upper East Site
Sign on the door of the Stumble Inn announcing closure/Upper East Site

“We want to ensure as many humans in our community as possible can enjoy the holidays with loved ones,”  the Fhitting Room explained on Instagram, announcing that all of their locations— including its Upper East Side gym on East 67th Street—  would be closed through the end of the year.

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Meanwhile, on Monday, the Milton opened its doors back open to hungry and thirsty Upper East Siders. The popular bar and restaurant on Second Avenue near East 91st Street had closed down for a few days because of a covid exposure. 

The Milton is back open after closing for Covid testing/Upper East Site
The Milton is back open after closing for Covid testing/Upper East Site

“We are making sure that everyone tests negative before we return to service,” the Milton announced on Instagram late last week. 

Today, they announced they were back open for business and looking forward to greeting guests.

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The line for Covid testing outside CityMD on East 86th Street stretches down the block/Upper East Site

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People wait for a COVID test outside Brooklyn Borough Hall, Dec. 20, 2021/Ben Fractenberg, THE CITY

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