NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — New York City restaurant owners are demanding to know when dining can finally move indoors, but the governor served up a cold response Wednesday, flatly announcing that he does not know.
More than ever, a restaurant’s location is do or die. Moving indoors is still off the table, and the governor warns it could stay that way through fall and winter.
DK steakhouse on West 36th Street is unlucky with narrow sidewalks out front. It’s closed.
The environment makes it a bad bet for the only restaurant dining option available in New York City — outdoor seating.
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Joseph Licul’s relatives own DK.
“It’s on a block where there’s a lot of construction, so no one’s able to be seated outside. It’s not comfortable for street dining, for roadway dining,” Licul said.
CBS2’s Dave Carlin met Licul at his own restaurant — Skinny’s Cantina in Long Island City. It’s faring much better, with wider sidewalks for lots of tables.
“They keep coming and they’re helping us a lot,” manager Christina Estrada said.
But that will change when winter comes.
“We’re not gonna be able to put any outdoors, and nobody’s gonna sit, so we’re a little worried about that,” Estrada said.
Changing seasons will change the habits of diners.
“I don’t know if I’d be here in a foot of snow,” one woman said.
“What do we do if it’s cold and people don’t want to eat outside? I get it. Again, that’s in the fall, right, and today, in this environment, two weeks is what a year used to be, right? Everything changes every two weeks,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.
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The governor on a conference call Wednesday sounded dismissive about hammering down a timetable. He said it’s too soon to answer demands from the New York City Hospitality Alliance, whose members call it unfair that other areas have an indoor option but not restaurant owners in the city.
“We have met, sustained and exceeded the benchmarks that have allowed the rest of the state to open, and now we are sitting here six weeks later with no plan,” said Andrew Rigie, executive director of the NYC Hospitality Alliance.
“We have much, a much bigger problem in New York City today than any of the surrounding suburbs with the lack of compliance,” Cuomo said.
“They have to come up with something because it’s a double-edged sword. You don’t wanna be unsafe, but you want these places to stay open,” one man said.
Watch Dave Carlin’s report —
Woodlawn eateries can only serve diners outside, but head two blocks north on Katonah to Kimball and make a right on Mclean — the Irish pubs in Yonkers are welcoming diners inside.
“Given the opportunity, you’re going to go up the street to eat inside,” Woodlawn resident Shanna Mansfield said.
“It doesn’t really make sense because the population in Woodlawn is probably the same as in Yonkers,” Woodlawn resident Austin Huber said.
The owners of the Saints & Scholars Irish pub feel sorry for their friends across the city line.
“We have increased. Like, our numbers are probably better than ever due to the Bronx being closed and Yonkers being open, so they have crossed over the border,” co-owner Aidan Loughrin told CBS2’s Tony Aiello.
Woodlawn bar and restaurant owners don’t think social distance compliance is anymore of an issue there than it is up the street in Yonkers.
They say being on the wrong side of the city line is costing them, big time.
Compliance problems have led to 150 liquor licenses being revoked at the state level, and here in the city, citations that can include $10,000 fines.
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