How coronavirus is affecting retail in the shopping and dining mecca of NYC

The pandemic is turning the once-bustling streets into a ghost town and many national chains are saying they could shut down their New York locations for good.
3:26 | 08/14/20

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Transcript for How coronavirus is affecting retail in the shopping and dining mecca of NYC
Now to our "Gma" cover story and the center of the shopping universe on a troubling coronavirus transforming the once bustling streets of the big apple into ghost towns. Rebecca Jarvis is back with more and, Rebecca, many national chains are now saying they could shut down their New York City locations for good. Reporter: Good morning, Amy. That's right. It's really troubling. There is that old saying if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere, but now more and more businesses are saying, you can't, New York City is just too unsustainable and this has become an all too common sight throughout the city, blocks and blocks of vacancies. This morning, big cities feeling the economic impact of the pandemic. But perhaps none more than new York City. More than 6500 New York City businesses permanently closed since March. Tourists, 65 million a year, are now gone. The lack of traffic forcing retailers from JCPenney to Kate spade to neiman-marcus to shut some New York locations for good. People were just not on the streets. They were not walking in. Reporter: Experts say expensive rents are also to blame. If they close in New York City, they can save on that expensive rent and re-open in other places such as Florida or the midwest or elsewhere. Reporter: Where it's much less expensive to operate. One of those companies paying top dollar, Victoria's secret which shells out nearly a million dollars in rent every month for its flagship shop in midtown closing its big apple locations while opening in other states. The hefty bills also hitting many small businesses hard. Business went down drastically. I would say probably 90%. Reporter: Other large cities across the country are also seeing a decline due to the pandemic. The L.A. Metro area losing nearly 7,000 businesses and Chicago almost 3,000 since March. And a new report from S & P global markets say six major restaurant chains could fail if finances were to deteriorate including Applebee's, the cheesecake factory and ihop due in part to capacity limitations but when it comes to New York City, some experts are optimistic it will bounce back. If any city can really reinvent itself, it's New York. Reporter: And we have done that time and time again. Warren Buffett says never bet against America. Here in New York City we have rebuilt after 9/11, after the financial crisis, it took time and solid leadership to get the city back on its feet, Amy. Rebecca, we are not blaming the messenger here, but you painted a pretty bleak picture. Is there any silver lining here? Reporter: Well, I think the biggest silver lining in all of this is what we've seen historically after recessions and after economic downturns and that is business, new business creation. Situations like this one drive down rent, they drive down the cost of doing business and that allows new entrants, entrepreneurs and founders with new ideas to come in and see them come to life. And just for your reference, companies like trader Joe's, Microsoft and Netflix, some of the biggest companies of our day, were all created in times of crisis and formed in recession, Amy. All right that, is a glimmer of hope. Thank you. We appreciate it.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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