Saturday, 19 Sep 2020

Cuomo, de Blasio must give NYC’s restaurants a chance to survive

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio have clearly decided to let the city’s restaurants die: They won’t allow indoor dining, the only way for most eateries to stay above water.

No matter that indoor dining and drinking (albeit at reduced capacity) is kosher in Westchester and Nassau, right outside the city — and literally down the block from a few restaurants in Queens. Nor that New Jersey’s now allowing it, too.

The “Dr. No” duo don’t expect indoor dining to return until next June — if a vaccine is widely available. Not many spots will be left by then — their money’s running out.

De Blasio pretends restaurants are “a very optional activity.” Not for the people whose incomes depend on them.

And it’s not just owners facing ruin. More than half of the industry’s 300,000 workers in the city are already unemployed, though city Comptroller Scott Stringer says just 1,300 of the city’s 25,000 restaurants and bars have closed permanently so far.

It’s about density, runs one excuse from Team Cuomo. But much of the city is no denser than, say, Hoboken.

Or the problem is the city’s inability to enforce: “I need local governments to do a better job on compliance,” says Cuomo. How does he know?

The city’s COVID-19 infection rate stands at 0.59 percent. Why not see if indoor dining can work? If virus cases spike, then stop indoor dining until the numbers drop.

Give the industry a shot at survival.

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