Will end of summer leave restaurants out in the cold?
As summer in the city continues without indoor dining, restaurant owners worry about staying in business once cold weather puts a stop to outdoor service. And they wonder why restaurant owners in other parts of the state don’t have to share that worry.
"Despite the fact that the city exceeds and sustains the metrics that have allowed restaurants throughout the rest of the state to reopen, government leaders have still yet to provide any guidance on when small business owners, workers and customers can expect indoor dining to return," said Andrew Rigie, executive director of the NYC Hospitality Alliance.
Governor Andrew Cuomo has not given even a tentative date for when indoor service can resume in the five boroughs.
“We have a much bigger problem in New York City today than any of the surrounding suburbs, with a lack of compliance,” said Cuomo.
Mayor Bill De Blasio also hinted that it could be a long wait.
“Unfortunately, bars, indoor restaurants and nightlife have been a huge nexus for the coronavirus, particularly resurgences of the coronavirus,” said de Blasio.
Local elected officials are also frustrated over the delays.
“We’ve been very patient with the mayor and the governor,” said Assemblymember Nicole Malliotakis during a conference at the Staten Island Ho’brah, where attorneys Louis Gelormino and Mark Fonte announced a class-action lawsuit to force the city to allow indoor dining. “The business owners that are here today did what they had to do and what they were told to do to help flatten the curve.”
“Right now, New Yorkers can travel a few miles to Long Island or Westchester for indoor dining and then come right back to New York City,” said State Senator Andrew Gounardes and Councilmember Justin Brannan. “We need an explanation as to how that is any safer than allowing indoor dining in New York City. Local small business owners deserve to know what COVID-related metrics need to be met in order for them to seat customers inside.”
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