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‘Ugly, Ugly Time’: Work-From-Home Era Crushes U.S. Dry Cleaners

One in six have closed or gone bankrupt already, and many more won’t survive without another round of stimulus.

‘For Lease’ signs and shuttered storefronts have become a common sight as small businesses struggle to survive the pandemic. 

‘For Lease’ signs and shuttered storefronts have become a common sight as small businesses struggle to survive the pandemic. 

Photographer: Gabby Jones/Bloomberg

For a glimpse of how a city is faring in its reopening, look closely at its dry cleaners.

Take J’s Cleaners, with locations dotting Midtown and Upper Manhattan. Last month, business was up to as much as 40% of pre-pandemic levels as a small portion of New Yorkers returned to the office, said owner Albert Lee. Some locations were even back to half of what they made before Covid-19. With new business restrictions and schools closing again, Lee expects to fall back down to the low levels he’s seen back in April.