The public health and economic implications of the COVID-19 pandemic to the New York City (NYC) food system have been tremendous. In the six months since March 2020, when the pandemic reached NYC’s 5 boroughs, the number of food-insecure individuals has nearly doubled from 1.2 million to 2 million;1 diet quality for many individuals has decreased;2 the local food workforce has lost more than two-thirds of its workers;3 and more than 1,000 NYC restaurants and food retail outlets have closed,4 some never to re-open.
Too often the impacts of a crisis such as COVID-19 are not measured until long after the opportunity to implement policy and programmatic solutions has passed. In this report, researchers from three of NYC’s leading food policy and research institutions analyze COVID-19’s impact on NYC’s food system during the first six months of the pandemic. Our goal is to provide research-based recommendations for policies and programs that support food security, retail, quality, and the food workforce as the COVID-19 crisis continues to unfold.