Malliotakis threatens lawsuit against Cuomo and de Blasio over indoor dining

September 2, 2020 Jaime DeJesus
Malliotakis threatens lawsuit against Cuomo and de Blasio over indoor dining
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Assemblymember Nicole Malliotakis says that unless a plan is made this week to resume indoor dining in New York City, a threatened class-action lawsuit against Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio will proceed.

Malliotakis, City Council Minority Leader Steven Matteo, attorneys and restaurant owners announced their intention to file the lawsuit at a conference on Aug. 20. As of Sept. 1, more than 125 restaurants have signed on to it.

“I was encouraged to hear that the governor said he may now consider indoor dining, but the mayor is still playing games,” said Malliotakis. “Unless we are given a definitive plan this week, we will have no choice but to proceed with our planned legal action. It makes no sense to continue to punish our restaurants when we meet the metrics, and the statistics for the rest of the state have proven we could continue with indoor dining safely.”

“We have been contacted by thousands of restaurant owners throughout the city,” said attorneys Lou Gelormino and Mark Fonte. “Obviously, they are completely frustrated and many are literally close to bankruptcy. Because we want to help as many as possible, we are still in the process of gathering plaintiffs, doing the research and drafting the complaint. We expect to have it finalized sometime next week.”

According to SI Live, a letter was also recently sent to Cuomo that was signed by several elected officials, including Malliotakis and U.S. Rep. Max Rose.

“If our local restaurants are forced to maintain the current outdoor dining only model as we enter the fall and winter months, the ramifications will be devastating and permanent,” the letter stated.

Neither de Blasio nor Cuomo has given a date when indoor dining can resume.

“We have not had the opportunity to do it safely,” de Blasio said. “We’re going to keep looking for sure. Now I would say to you, I’ve talked to a lot of restaurant owners as well. I think some are in really tough shape.”

A recent survey by the New York State Restaurant Association revealed that nearly 90 percent of New York’s restaurant owners said their businesses are somewhat unlikely to be profitable in the next six months without help from the government.

In addition, about 200,000 employees in New York City’s restaurant industry are out of work due to mandated closures.

“New Jersey is opening Friday, so what about us?” asked Robert DeLuca, owner of DeLuca’s Italian Restaurant on Staten Island and spokesman for the Independent Restaurant Owners Association Rescue. “Other parts of New York State have had indoor dining at 50 percent for almost three months now with no spikes in COVID. With our numbers in New York City historically low, the time is now to allow indoor dining.”

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