Governor Andrew Cuomo’s announcement this morning of a 10pm curfew on all bars, restaurants, and gyms has provoked an outcry from local businesses struggling to stay afloat during the pandemic. The new restrictions come into force on Friday.

The governor also threatened that further measures could be on the table — including stopping all indoor dining — to get the spread of the coronavirus under control.

“If these measures aren’t sufficient to reduce the spread — we’ll turn the valve more, and part of that would be reducing the number of people indoor dining,” Cuomo said at today’s press conference.

“It’s going to be a long, bleak winter,” said Steve Olsen from West Bank Cafe in response to the measures.

Dinners last Saturday evening at the West Bank Cafe.

“This just feels like another kick in the back after he already dropped our industry down to our knees,” said Tanya Hira-Passon from Briciola Winebar.

“Cuomo continues to place blame on bars and restaurants who have already spent 10s of thousands of dollars implementing safety standards for our guests and staff — while also losing 10s of thousands of dollars trying to survive this pandemic with little to no government assistance,” said Dominick Costa, General Manager of Treadwell Park (which has been shuttered awaiting 50% indoor dining). “Mayor De Blasio needs to take a good look at the MTA and start holding himself accountable — with absolutely no distancing enforcement, no mask enforcement, no sanitizer stations, no temperature checks — all regulations being placed on private businesses with hefty fines for those who aren’t compliant. I appreciate that steps are being taken to stop the spread, but implementing a curfew on bars and restaurants is hardly the leap forward we need.”

“We are just trying to survive but are not seeing any light at the end of this terrible COVID tunnel…” Bruce horowytz, 44 & X

All businesses we contacted understood the need to control the virus but were frustrated at the lack of financial support.

“We’re happy to comply with whatever the local and state governments think will help keep this pandemic from getting worse, while we all await a vaccine. We would certainly rather see a shaving of business hours than stronger measures, but we will support whatever Gov. Cuomo decides is necessary moving forward,” said Charlie Marshal from The Marshal. “Despite having cases go up significantly recently, NY is still in a much better place than much of the country, and we see that fact as reason enough to follow the guidance we get from the top. What would really help would be if congress could get the next stimulus passed before winter sets in.”

Many food businesses are not affected by the new rulings but were sympathetic to their neighbors’ plight.

Paul Miller, Manager at Amy’s Bread on 9th Avenue told us: “We close at 7pm so the 10pm curfew will not affect us. However, we’re thinking about our neighboring business during this very difficult time. We’re Hell’s Kitchen strong and we’ll weather the storm together.”

“The new curfew doesn’t mean much for Kahve as we are closed already at 7:00 pm,” Erol Zeren from Kahve told us. “However, my heart aches for my neighbors and fellow restaurant’s in the area.”

The Press Lounge rooftop at night. Photo: Lora Aroyo.

Some businesses like The Press Lounge will see a real hit to trade. “10pm is our busiest reservation window,” said Frankie Gabriel, their Director of Services.

“We will continue to follow all relevant laws, procedures and guidelines as set by Gov. Cuomo,” said Joshua Fazeli from Don’t Tell Mama on Restaurant Row.” We are hopeful we can continue to sing and serve our amazing fans and get back to normal as soon as possible.”

Others were lost for words. “This is not good news. I just want to say ‘€%#<%€!¥+¥€>,|~>€>>}}|||£¥¥?,,#{]|#^*£!>>? Cuomo !!!!’,” emailed Kevin Lee from At Nine Restaurant. “The restaurant will follow the curfew. We have no choice. It’s better than having to close🤢”

Nicola Arcari at Mercury Bar was also lost for words. Her email response: “F#%>|?{?{?]?”

“Yet another harsh blow to the New York City restaurant industry and the 300,000+ that it employs,” shared Bruce Horowytz from 44 & X. “We are just trying to survive but are not seeing any light at the end of this terrible COVID tunnel…”

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