Monday, 21 Sep 2020

Long Island launches campaign to lure New Yorkers with indoor dining

This will really put salt in the wound of New York City restaurant owners and workers.

Nassau County has launched a “Taste Nassau Today” campaign to woo city foodies over to Long Island to enjoy indoor dining at its restaurants because they can’t do so at Gotham eateries, where indoor dining is still banned because of coronavirus restrictions.

“Dine Where It’s Fine, in Nassau LI” boasts the PR campaign spearheaded by County Executive Laura Curran.

In a press release, Curran openly acknowledges the social media and digital marketing campaign is aimed at attracting diners coming from “right across the border in many cases.” Long Island sits on the same larger island that includes Brooklyn and Queens, which shares a border with Nassau County.

Curran, a Democrat like New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, rubbed the salt in deep saying, “You won’t be left out in the cold in Nassau — literally. Whether you’re coming from Greenwich Village, Greenwich Connecticut, or some other place with a low infection rate, we welcome you to experience and support our downtowns and hometown restaurants.”

And she noted that many of the restaurants are within walking distance of the Long Island Railroad.

To help visitors explore the many downtown dining districts within walking distance of the LIRR, she encouraged visitors to download the recently launched free Downtown Deals Travel Pass on www.discoverlongisland.com.

The new mobile app, launched in partnership with Discover Long Island and the Nassau and Suffolk Industrial Development Agencies, features 100 businesses in Farmingdale, Great Neck, Rockville Centre, Greenport, Huntington and Patchogue.

Many of the restaurants listed provide coupons and deals that can be accessed on the app.

In New York City, outdoor dining is permitted through Oct. 31 and de Blasio has said he is thinking about extending that while not having a plan for indoor dining through the end of the year.

Governor Andrew Cuomo and de Blasio thus far have resisted allowing indoor dining in New York City, despite the Big Apple’s low infection rate, worrying that the Big Apple’s density will trigger new clusters of COVID-19 infections if they allow indoor dining. Cuomo has OK’d indoor dining in every part of the state except the city.

And neighboring New Jersey is bringing back reduced-capacity indoor dining Friday.

A Queens restaurateur who is losing business to Long Island eateries just a block away filed a lawsuit claiming the state ban on indoor dining in the city puts him at a distinct disadvantage and violates his constitutional rights. The suit filed in Manhattan state Supreme Court names Cuomo and de Blasio as defendants.

In Nassau County restaurants, indoor dining is permitted at 50 percent capacity. In New Jersey it will be at 25 percent.

As part of the PR blitz, Nassau is encouraging visiting restaurant goers to use the hashtag #TasteNassauToday and will ramp up promotion throughout the fall and winter while monitoring infection rates in neighboring counties and cities.

“Our restaurants are not only eager to serve, they are ready – having spent many hours implementing health and safety protocols, acquiring the proper PPE, and ensuring that social distancing is maintained. And the proof is in the numbers,” said Curran.

Curran said Nassau eateries could use the business, citing a Long Island study that concluded the hospitality sector lost 82,000 jobs in Nassau and neighboring Suffolk counties – more than any other industry. Employment is down two-thirds for the entire industry.

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