Southern Brooklyn

Restaurant owners plead for indoor dining plan

September 8, 2020 Jaime DeJesus
Restaurant owners plead for indoor dining plan
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They want answers.

Restaurant owners across southern Brooklyn joined elected officials in Bay Ridge last week to demand guidelines from the mayor and governor for the return of indoor dining.

The conference, hosted by State Senator Andrew Gounardes, took place Sept. 3 outside Chadwick’s restaurant at 8822 Third Ave.

“We need an immediate plan so we are able to make informed decisions to keep our staff and customers safe,” said Jumana Bishara, co-owner of Tanoreen, 7523 Third Ave. “We deal with issues surrounding occupancy and sanitizing and disinfecting on a regular basis. We need to be trusted as operators to be able to enforce whatever guidelines are given. People trust us to cook food for them. We should be trusted to implement whatever guidelines we are going to be given by the city and state and we need that sooner rather than later.”

“I’ve been in this business with my father Gerry Morris at Chadwick’s for 33 years and I have never gone through anything as tough as we are right now,” said Chadwick’s co-owner Steven Oliver. “We are blessed to have outdoor space, but  depending on the weather, it’s been up and down. Just being able to pay our rent and employees has been very difficult beyond anything else.”

“We know the only way we can save this industry and these small businesses on our avenues and the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of workers is to have a plan,” said Gounardes. “For too long, the city and state have said we don’t have an answer. It’s not acceptable.”

Photo courtesy of Councilmember Justin Brannan

Gounardes also said it’s unfair that people can dine indoors across the rest of the state but not in the five boroughs.

“It seems so inconsistent and arbitrary that you could travel 18 miles from this spot and dine in but you can’t go 18 feet inside this restaurant and have this same meal,” he said.

“We need to know not if, but when indoor dining starts, what the safety precautions are going to need to be so these restaurant owners can get ready and be prepared to bring public safety,” said Councilmember Justin Brannan.

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