NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The scenes on Astoria’s main drag were chaotic over the weekend.
“I’m telling you it has to stop. And I’m telling you in plain New York speak, as a born and bred New Yorker, it’s stupid,” said Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday.
Cuomo was less than thrilled. He said if the overcrowding does not stop, the only solution is to shut it down.
“If it happens, I’ll tell you what’s going to happen. We’re gonna have to roll back the opening plan, and we’re going to have to close bars and restaurants,” said the governor.
It’s the last thing people who go out responsibly want, CBS2’s Kevin Rincon reported.
“I really want people to start doing the right thing because I don’t want that to happen,” said Rachel Underland. “I’m out of work right now and outdoor dining, and socially distancing while seeing my friends is all I really have right now.”
“Eating outside, eating in the street. It’s what kind of gives back the life that we lost in New York City,” said another.
Overcrowding has been happening for weeks.
Mayor Bill de Blasio said the city has tried to rely on giving out warnings, until now.
“We don’t want to give out summonses. Everyone’s hurting right now, financially, economically. But we if we have to, we’ll give out summonses,” he said.
De Blasio said things will change moving forward, as the city ramps up enforcement.
Cuomo said the state could yank liquor licenses, but that the city must file the initial complaints.
BRIK is among the businesses to get punished for what happened over the weekend.
The Astoria restaurant has been temporarily shut down after people were seen packing the block last week.
“Just because people are in front of our establishment doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re with us, and our patrons and our guests,” said Kim Cortes, a bartender.
The owner of BRIK must submit a plan on how he plans to enforce social distancing.
“It’s tough because we can’t really control what other people are doing outside of the establishment,” John Zorbas told CBS2. “Moving forward, like I said, we’ve actually had more security ever since this has been going on, so we have done that. We’ve asked everybody to be on their Ps and Qs.”
The city says it will reassess the situation in a week.
The mayor’s office plans to work with the restaurant to make sure it’s in compliance.
“We saw some real troubling overcrowding in Astoria this weekend. We will not tolerate it. Let’s be really clear,” de Blasio said Monday. “It’s not widespread, but where we find it, it has to be stopped.”
“No one wants to shut down bars or restaurants,” he added. “But if they do not cooperate in our efforts to contain the coronavirus, they will be shut down.”
For the next week, BRIK is not allowed to serve anyone outside.
If the overcrowding doesn’t stop, it could be closed for good.