COVID-19 has not only impacted the health of the entire world, but also the social and economic livelihoods of those who work in, and enjoy, the New York City hospitality industry. The upcoming documentary, ‘Last Call: The Shutdown of NYC Bars,’ explores what happened when the entire industry was laid off in a single day last year.
‘Last Call: The Shutdown of NYC Bars’ will screen virtually at Laemmle theaters beginning on July 16. Global Digital Releasing will then distribute the film digitally on August 13. In honor of the movie’s release, ShockYa is premiering the feature’s trailer.
The documentary was written, directed and produced by Johnny Sweet. It was shot during the height of the pandemic.
‘Last Call: The Shutdown of NYC Bars’ follows Jena Ellenwood, a bartender who recounts her experiences moving to Queens, New York and finding herself as the newest employee at the Sparrow Tavern, a local Astoria watering hole. The documentary introduces viewers to Jena’s coworkers and close friends, who all work within the network of the New York City hospitality and service industries.
In March 2020, business-as-usual comes to a grinding halt as COVID-19 sweeps through New York, quickly establishing Queens as the epicenter of the pandemic in not only the state of New York, but throughout the entire country. Bars and restaurants are ordered to close, leaving thousands of hospitality workers stranded without work and an uncertain future. Jena and her friends vent their frustrations and anxieties, not only surrounding the seemingly hopeless economic uncertainty, but also the deadly virus that threatens their very lives.
Jena and her friends learn to adapt and cope with the reality of life during COVID, finding new sources of income and seizing the opportunity to pursue creative endeavors that might normally be sidelined. Throughout the process of finding a foothold in this new normal, the anxiety and uncertainty of New York’s hospitality industry looms, as 2020 ends with COVID hospitalizations in New York continuing to rise once again.