By: Tauren Dyson
Mayor Bill de Blasio has said he has “no plan” to allow indoor dining in New York City, pointing to the connection between eating inside and flare-ups of coronavirus in other countries.
“Indoor dining, there’s not a plan right now,” de Blasio said on WNYC’s “The Brian Lehrer Show” Friday.
“There’s not a context for indoor dining. We’re never saying it’s impossible. But we do not, based on what we’re seeing around the world, we do not have a plan for reopening indoor dining in the near term,” de Blasio said.
The New York City mayor linked resurgences of coronavirus in Europe and Hong Kong to the resumption of indoor dining.
Andrew Rigie, head of the NYC Hospitality Alliance, was angered by de Blasio’s reluctance to reopen dining.
“It’s jaw-dropping that there’s no plan for the more than 25,000 eating and drinking places and 300,000 workers in our city,” Rigie said.
“If there’s no plan to reopen in the near term while the rest of the state is open indoors, what’s the plan to support New York City’s small businesses and workers while they’re shut? Where’s the rent relief?” Rigie asked.
About 100 restaurants in Brooklyn and Staten Island are expected to file a class-action lawsuit to compel de Blasio and Gov. Andrew Cuomo to allow their restaurants to reopen.
Only about 10,000 of the city’s 25,000 dining establishments are taking part in New York City’s outdoor dining program. But 83% couldn’t pay their full rent in July, according to a survey by Rigie’s group.
More than half of New York’s hospitality industry workers are unemployed, according to Eater.
City Council Minority Leader Steven Matteo, R-Staten Island, also ripped the mayor for setting a timeline for eateries to reopen.
“This administration is going to put restaurants in our city out of business if it does not allow indoor dining. It is absolutely unacceptable that the mayor has no plan and no ideas on how to make this happen,” Matteo said.
Matteo added, “Allow indoor to open now with the proper protocols in place — restaurants literally cannot afford to wait anymore.” (Newsmax.com)