Mayor de Blasio responded to a reporter’s question this morning about restaurant and bar owners feeling that, if there is no indoor dining by the end of October, 99% of businesses would close and all we’d be left with was Applebees. “New York City has so many great neighborhood restaurants that I don’t think, in the end, we’re only going to be going to Applebees, I really don’t,” said the Mayor. “I believe it’s been really, really tough on folks who own restaurants, who put their life into those restaurants.”
However, he gave little hope of indoor dining coming back anytime soon. He said there had not come a point “where we can do something safe with indoor dining. We want to keep looking for sure.”
Meanwhile, the only timing he shared was that: “I do pray for and expect a vaccine in the spring that will allow us all to get more back to normal.”
Despite New York’s COVID numbers being low, the Mayor still seemed to resist any return to indoor dining without “a situation where we can push down the virus enough, where we would have more ability to address the indoor dining. It would take a huge step forward to get to that point.”
Meanwhile, across the Hudson, Governor Phil Murphy announced this morning that indoor dining would return statewide at 25% capacity from Friday. “Reopening responsibly will help us restore one of our state’s key industries while continuing to make progress against COVID-19,” the Governor tweeted this morning.
Yesterday we reported that Hell’s Kitchen business was down two-thirds year-on-year. Many business owners are calling for limited indoor dining as early as possible. Luis Garcia, the manager of Arriba Arriba, told us: “Indoor dining is the only choice with New York’s bitter winters. I don’t see any other alternative.”
“Re-open indoor dining at 50% capacity like the rest of New York State,” said Ted Arenas from Rise Bar. “Other regions have been open for over two months with no COVID increase.”
Meanwhile, our readers’ survey on attitudes to indoor dining showed 29% would welcome that option now (which would suggest it would be easy to open initially at 25% capacity). If you add in those 25% that answered they were unsure, there seems hopes that a 50% indoor opening would be feasible soon.
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