With the ongoing delays of indoor dining in NYC, 300 restaurants recently filed a class-action lawsuit against the City and State, seeking $2 billion in damages from lost revenue.
Governor Andrew Cuomo states that NYC is not enforcing strict enough guidelines to allow indoor dining at this time. In a press conference on Thursday, he seemed to blame Mayor de Blasio for this lack of enforcement.
Cuomo has also suggested Council Speaker Corey Johnson establish a task force of 4,000 NYPD officers to administer compliance checks around the city.
Corey Johnson published a statement on September 2, stating that “it’s time to allow indoor dining in New York City with reduced capacity and clear guidance to ensure social distancing and safety.”
Johnson continues to state how “this is crucial for restaurant owners, who have been particularly hard hit by the pandemic and the resulting drop in tourism. Summer is winding down, and they need to begin planning for the colder months. Of course, we will continue to monitor the City’s COVID-19 rates, just as we must for all of our businesses.”
Andrew Rigie, the executive director of the NYC Hospitality Alliance and the first vice-chair of the Upper West Side’s Community Board 7, also made a public statement:
“We’re happy that Governor Cuomo wants to reopen indoor dining in New York City, since restaurants around the rest of the state have been operating indoors safely for the past two months, but his suggestion that compliance is the hold up is not supported by the inspection data from his agencies which indicates nearly 100% compliance in the City. Restaurants in New York City are well-regulated by the NYC Department of Health, who conduct thousands of inspections a year and are certainly not shy about it. Any further hold up continues to jeopardize tens of thousands of small businesses and hundreds of thousands of jobs in New York.”
To address the concerns and frustrations coming from many restaurant owners and industry advocates, Mayor de Blasio indicated an answer should (or could) come by the end of September:
“I think it’s our responsibility to give them as clear an answer in the month of September as possible, of where we are going. 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 is good news or bad news.”