NEW YORK CITY – Dining out in New York City isn’t on the menu until a “huge step forward” is served against the coronavirus, Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Monday.
De Blasio linking indoor meals to a still undeveloped COVID-19 vaccine is unlikely to provide any comfort to New York City restaurateurs who have seen business crater in the pandemic.
They watched every restaurant open across the state – often just across city limits – while de Blasio and Governor Andrew Cuomo repeatedly called to let them reopen their dining rooms.
The health risks, especially in New York City, are too great to reopen indoor restaurant spaces, Cuomo and de Blasio said.
But a coalition of restaurateurs recently argued that the city’s health measures were good enough to reopen. Likewise, the editorial board of the New York Daily News advocated for a pilot program “of controlled experimentation” that would allow some restaurants to reopen in the city.
A reporter told de Blasio on Monday, perhaps with some exaggeration, that restaurant owners told him that 99% of restaurants could close after the city’s outdoor dining program closes on October 31.
We will all only eat at Applebee’s, the reporter said.
“I think New York City has so many great neighborhood restaurants that I don’t think in the end we’re just going to go to Applebee’s, really not,” said de Blasio.
De Blasio acknowledged how difficult the situation is for restaurants and their employees. But he said the question remains whether it is safe to reopen.
“So far we haven’t had that moment, honestly,” he said. “We were very straightforward about it. We did not have the opportunity to do so safely. We will continue to search with certainty. “