NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Indoor dining won’t be on the menu when New York City reaches Phase 3 next week, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Wednesday.
“We particularly see problems revolving around people going back to bars and restaurants indoors. Indoors is the problem more and more. The science is showing it more and more,” he said. “So I want to make very clear: We cannot go ahead at this point in time with indoor dining in New York City.”
Earlier this week, the mayor and governor said they were re-evaluating after seeing coronavirus cases climb in other states.
On Wednesday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the postponement of indoor dining in the city is happening due to a slip of citizen compliance and local government enforcement of mask-wearing directives and social distancing guidelines.
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“Citizen compliance is slipping. That is a fact,” Cuomo said. “Look at pictures. Look at any street in Manhattan. Go to the Village. Go to the West Side. Go to Brooklyn. Go to Queens. Go to the Bronx. Citizen compliance is slipping. I get it. I understand it. People have been inside a long time. The weather’s warm. I miss my friends. The governor says everything is good.”
Cuomo said city government has to do its job, or else the city could take a big step backwards.
“What’s going to happen? The virus is going to spread. It’s that simple. It’s that clear. That is the reality. The virus spreads. We’re back to the mountain,” Cuomo said.
Earlier, New Jersey postponed indoor dining for many of the same reasons.
“It brings me no joy to do this, but we have no choice,” said Gov. Phil Murphy. “The carelessness of one establishment can completely undo the good work of many others… we will not tolerate outlier bars and restaurants and, frankly, patrons who think the rules don’t apply to them.”
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“I need the local governments to do the compliance. I know there’s a lot going on with the NYPD now, but they have to enforce it,” he said.
De Blasio’s press secretary tweeted in response, “The mayor decided long ago that police aren’t the answer to social distancing; the Gov should heed our lesson.”
The rest of Phase 3 is expected to move forward Monday.
But that comes as no consolation to restaurant owners and some city residents.
“We went from almost 200 guests a day to only 20 or 30 guests a day,” said Mike Alasaad, owner of Sinigual restaurant on Third Avenue.
Outdoor dining will have to do, but for eateries it is so scaled down there are no profits on it.
Now, there’s more uncertainty.
“Unfortunately, we don’t know how long more it’s going to last now,” said Ardell Reilly, manager at Connolly’s Pub.
Leaders of the NYC Hospitality Alliance want the mayor and governor to step in with additional rent forgiveness and expand outdoor room for dining.
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Concerns about recirculated air and air conditioning as it relates to restaurants were walked back by the governor, who said they were not a big factor in making this decision, Carlin reported.
“It’s not determinative in any way,” Cuomo said.
The governor said better air filtration will be a long-term project, but reiterated that right now he sees some New Yorkers being less vigilant.
CBS2’s Dave Carlin asked him to estimate how much longer indoor dining will be on pause.
“Depends on what they do,” Cuomo said. “We have to reduce the concentrations of gatherings of people.”
The governor said what also fueled the decision is people from other states with booming infection rates managing to get to the city and infecting New Yorkers, adding bar and restaurants are among the riskiest environments.
However, those in the restaurant industry say they want to prove they can do it safely, before some are forced to shut down.
“Give us a chance. We will do the right thing,” Reilly said.