Governor Cuomo’s new ban on indoor dining takes effect Monday; Meanwhile, temperatures will drop below freezing next week, reducing appetite for alfresco dining.
So the city’s surviving restaurant and bar owners are bracing for even more red ink – and foodies are flocking to the most popular eateries before it returns to a regular diet of take-out and food. their own cooker preparations.
Even with the weather in the mid-1950s on Saturday, most diners still preferred to eat inside for one last time.
“We’re just enjoying our last pints before it all stops,” said Wolfgang Nugent, 34, as he watched football with his pal John O’Reilly, 26, at St. James’ Gate in the ‘Upper West Side of Manhattan.
“Everyone wants to spend the last two evenings with friends,” agreed O’Reilly, of Queens.
“With the cold weather, not many people will want to sit outside and drink,” he says.
“I think this is all a load of bulls,” Nugent, of Manhattan, added of the impending ban on eating inside Cuomo.
The governor said restrictions on indoor dining needed to be tightened due to the steady rise in COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths across the state.
Still, the ban comes despite state contact tracing data, released on Friday, showing restaurants and bars only make up 1.43% of recent known exposures.
In contrast, private household gatherings are linked to 74% of infections, according to data, which is based on 46,000 cases of coronavirus statewide between September and November.
Take-out, delivery and outdoor dining will still be allowed under Monday’s ban.
But given next week’s temperatures – which are expected to drop below freezing – it’s a very cold comfort for diners and restaurant workers, who expect the number of alfresco dining to drop with it. the temperatures.
It’s no wonder the line-up to enter Clinton Street Baking on the Lower East Side lasted two hours on Saturday afternoon, and dozens of pastrami fans were waiting both outside the iconic Katz’s Deli in nearby on Houston Street.
“This is the last time to come home before Monday,” noted Bob Birmele, 77, a retiree who has come down from his Midtown home for his pastrami sandwich.
“They are killing these companies,” he said of the upcoming ban. “It’s not just restaurant owners. They have waiters, waitresses, bus boys – they just kill them. How are they going to pay their rent? ”
“I don’t know which is worse, the virus or the closure of New York,” he added. ” Big mistake. ”
Bookings were up over 50% last weekend, said Phil Ynacay, 31, manager of Claw Daddy’s in Boerum Hill – but it won’t be picked up and delivered until Monday.
“With the meals inside, a lot of our repeat customers have come back from before the pandemic,” he said. “But a lot of them are frustrated that they can’t come back from Monday.”
Mott Haven Bar and Grill in the South Bronx serves food for essential workers, people with disabilities and homeless people – but the upcoming ban could spell the end of its restaurant and charity work, the manager said. Yina Santiago at The Post.
“Now we have to let go of half the staff,” she said. “It’s hard for us to do… it’s the holidays, things are difficult. It’s hard to be a boss right now.
Jonathan Padilla, director of Charlie’s, also in the South Bronx, has also worked with food charities, but said he barely creaked after two months of service indoors at the 25% capacity mandated by the State.
“People have families – bills to pay,” he noted. “It’s going to be a big success for everyone. Hopefully we can get back to 25% capacity soon.
Chef Marcus Ware, 40, of The Milling Room on the Upper West Side, said as soon as Cuomo’s ban was announced on Friday he saw an increase in bookings.
But after the weekend’s business bump, customers like Jordan Chang, 32, will no longer be sitting outside or elsewhere with no heat or heat.
“It’s too cold to dine outside!” she said on Saturday, as she ate indoors despite the storms of the mid-1950s. “The radiators don’t work very well.”
Eric Kontogiannis, 49, owns Cilantro on the Upper West Side; he called the statewide dining ban a “joke” because it does not take into account the variation in COVID-19 statistics across New York City.
“For them to just generalize and cover all of New York, I think that’s completely wrong,” he said.
As more restaurants face hardship, the character of New York’s streets will only change for the worse, said Annick, 42, as she waited for a table at Alice’s Tea Cup on West 73rd Street.
“He’s acting like a dictator,” she says of Cuomo. “And he watches it all fall apart and he does nothing for the economy. We will all miss our seats. They’ll just be big, monolithic places that will stay open.