You are reading

De Blasio Says Restaurants Will Get an Answer on Indoor Dining This Month

Mayor Bill de Blasio in Chinatown. August 11, 2020. Credit: Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office.

Sept. 2, 2020 By Allie Griffin

Mayor Bill de Blasio said he will give restaurants an answer this month as to if and when indoor dining can reopen.

The mayor said restaurant owners and workers deserve a clear answer soon as more and more industry leaders and politicians have been calling on the city to reopen indoor dining for struggling businesses.

“Folks just want a final answer as soon as possible so they can make their plans up or down,” de Blasio said at a press briefing this morning. “I think it’s our responsibility to give them as clear an answer in the month of September as possible of where we’re going.”

Indoor dining has been postponed in New York City indefinitely, while it has opened in all other regions at reduced capacity within the state. Nearby, New Jersey will also resume indoor dining on Friday (at 25 percent capacity) — which Governor Andrew Cuomo acknowledged would send some New Yorkers across a bridge or tunnel to eat out on Monday.

New York City residents have already been crossing the border to Long Island, where indoor dining is allowed at 50 percent capacity, according to a recently filed lawsuit.

In one Queens neighborhood that borders Long Island, a restaurant owner has sued the Cuomo and de Blasio over the lack of indoor dining in the five boroughs.

The owner of Il Bacco Restaurant in Little Neck filed a $2 billion lawsuit against the leaders this week, stating that the shutdown of indoor dining violates the Fifth Amendment in which the government cannot take private property without just compensation.

The Italian restaurant is just one block away from Nassau County, where indoor dining is permitted. The suit argues that the eatery is losing all its customers who cross the border for an indoor meal at Nassau County restaurants.

“There is absolutely NO SCIENCE that will prove that ‘indoor dining’ is safer one city block east from Plaintiff’s restaurant,” the lawsuit alleges.

De Blasio has repeatedly said indoor dining has been linked to COVID-19 upticks in other states and countries, which is why he has been hesitant to reopen it in the city.

He didn’t indicate Wednesday which direction the city was swaying in favor of, but said people need an answer, whether it’s a yes or no.

“If there can be a timeline, if there can be a set of standards for reopening, we need to decide that in the next few weeks and announce it, whether it’s good news or bad news,” de Blasio said.

The state must also weigh in on the issue and Gov. Cuomo has been equally cautious of indoor dining. De Blasio said he is working closely with the state.

“We’ll keep looking at it, I think we owe the industry as clear an answer as humanly possible soon, but it’s always going to be about health and safety first,” de Blasio said. “That’s why we’ve been so careful on this issue.”

Queens elected officials are also pushing for the city to reopen indoor dining. Last week, Council Member Costa Constantinides said the city must come up with a plan and yesterday, State Sen. Joseph Addabbo called Cuomo to reopen indoor dining and bars in the city, as well as the state’s casinos.

“Restaurants and bars in New York City have been able to operate with outdoor seating, but that is not nearly enough to allow them to continue surviving this pandemic,” Addabbo said. “By not allowing indoor dining — especially when just over the border into Nassau County allows it and with the cold weather approaching — it will cripple many businesses.”

The mayor also said opening indoor bars and nightclubs is more risky than indoor restaurants and that the city will treat them as a separate issue to indoor dining.

email the author: [email protected]

3 Comments

Click for Comments 
ASensibleMan

DeBlasio knows nothing.

In Switzerland, restaurants and bars have been bustling since mid-May, but only 3.5% of new infections come in restaurants, bars, or clubs. Intrafamilial infection is the leading driver. STAYING AT HOME is the most dangerous thing you can do. (But it’s not actually dangerous either.)

Eating out is safe and always has been.

DeBlasio isn’t “following the science.” He and Cuomo wouldn’t understand science if it hit them on the head. How will New Yorkers react when they finally realize the ENTIRE lockdown has been a gigantic scam?

1
3
Reply
Larry Penner

It is ironic that both NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio and Governor Andrew Cuomo claim to be advocates and friends for working and middle class New Yorkers. It is pure class warfare by de Blasio to claim that only wealthy people can afford to dine out. Millions of working and middle class people pre COVID-19 would eat out several days per week. Yet these are the same people Cuomo & deBlasio continue to deny the opportunity to go back to work. As each week goes by, hundreds more restaurants – small, medium and large will permanently close their doors.. After six months, it is becoming more and more difficult to remain in business with no income coming in.

Here is a simple common sense plan to begin the reopening process for indoor restaurant dinning. Follow the New Jersey model and allow any NYC restaurants to reopen on October 1st at 25%. Have them follow common sense health protocols. Wait four weeks. If there is no significant spike in COVID-19 cases, allow them to go to 33% indoor capacity on November 1st. Again, if there is no significant spike in COVID-19 cases, allow them to go to 50% on December 1st. This coincides with the holiday season which should encourage indoor dinning. Pause at 50% until such time as we survive any potential Flu outbreak. Once we have widespread distribution of a COVID-19 vaccine, we can then proceed to permit 67%, 75% and finally 100% capacity over a shorter time period.
Larry Penner

Reply

Leave a Comment
Reply to this Comment

All comments are subject to moderation before being posted.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Recent News

‘He didn’t deserve to die’: Borough President Richards leads emotional candlelight vigil for Tyre Nichols

Queens Borough President Donovan Richards held a candlelight vigil for Tyre Nichols outside Queens Borough Hall Monday, Jan. 30 after Nichols’ death at the hands of police officers in Memphis, Tenn., made national headlines for the brutality in which the officers beat him.

Almost immediately after news broke about Nichols’ death, the Memphis police officers who beat him to death were fired and charged with murder. The police department released the body cam footage of the fatal beating on Jan. 27, but many people, including some at the vigil, have refused to watch it due to its extremely graphic nature.

Long Island City teen sentenced in fatal shooting of ‘beloved’ school teacher at Queensbridge Houses in 2020: DA

A Long Island City man on Friday, Jan. 28, was sentenced to 19 years in prison for the 2020 fatal shooting of a public school social studies teacher who was out walking his dog when he was caught in the crossfire during a confrontation between gang rivals in broad daylight, just blocks from his home, according to Queens District Attorney’s office.

Ike Ford, 19, of 12th Street, in Long Island City, pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the first degree before Queens Supreme Court Justice Kenneth Holder. The teacher, George Rosa, 53, was shot in his abdomen by a stray bullet fired by Ford, who was just 17 years old at the time of the shooting but was sentenced as an adult given the severity of the crime, according to Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz.

LaGuardia Community College receives federal funding to expand vocational training for the unemployed

LaGuardia Community College recently received more than $400,000 in federal funding to enhance and expand vocational training for underemployed New Yorkers in a city that is still working to recover from COVID-19 pandemic-induced job loss. The support was secured by U.S. Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez and former Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney.

LaGuardia Community College President Kenneth Adams explained that the school lost nearly a quarter of its students at the height of the pandemic due to the economic effects of the lockdown on low-income Queens households.

BP launches new advisory panel for youth to become civically engaged in the future of Queens

In an effort to get more young people involved in civics, Queens Borough President Donovan Richards has created a new advisory panel known as the Youth and Young Adult Council to introduce the “youngest and fiercest” community advocates to both community service and organization.

Members of the advisory body will advocate concerns through means of community engagement by participating in one of two cohorts. The first will be made up of high school representatives between the ages of 13 and 17, while the second cohort will be comprised of young adults between the ages of 18 and 25.