A group of restaurant owners in New York City has sued the State of New York and New York City for damages because the authorities won’t allow them to open indoor dining. They can have outdoor seating, but that’s not possible with many restaurants, and will be all but unworkable as the weather changes.
Governor Andrew Cuomo controls restaurants through the Department of Health, and addressed the issue on Tuesday. He basically told restaurant owners in the city that, because there are so many of them, the authorities wouldn’t have the manpower to enforce the rules, and then he pinned the blame on Mayor Bill de Blasio by claiming that he’d asked for help from local authorities (de Blasio), but hadn’t received any.
“We have seen that opening bars has created a compliance and enforcement nightmare. From our experience Upstate, opening indoor dining caused issues. I beseeched the local governments to help and they did not. I would need additional enforcement capacity. It could be a local police department or it could be local health inspectors.”
Hmm. So let’s review. Every other city in the world, not the nation but the world, allows indoor dining at some level, and yet Cuomo does not. He claims it is because enforcing the requisite rules would take more manpower, which he does not have, and then he lays this at Mayor de Blasio’s feet by saying that the city needs to hire people to enforce state rules.
Note to Cuomo, they’re your rules. If you want them enforced, then you hire people. Until then, get out of the way and let restaurant owners run their businesses.
It looks like the governor got the message, because he reversed course on Wednesday and now says that restaurants in the city can open on September 30, with restrictions.
They will be limited to 25%, must have mandatory temperature checks at the door, and one member of each party must provide contact information. There will also be a whistleblower system so people can report restaurants that break the rules. Hopefully the calls go to the governor’s cell phone, and thousands of people call it.
It’s nice of the governor to allow people to run their own businesses, but 25% won’t keep the doors open. Expect a lot of restaurants in New York to go under this fall.