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NYC Restaurant Interior Service Authorized at 25% of Capacity from Valentine's Day | The State

It is unacceptable and wrong”, In a few words was the reaction of spokespersons for the New York Latin Bar and Restaurant Association (NYSRBLA) Given the announcement this Friday by Governor Andrew Cuomo to allow these establishments in the Big Apple to be able to offer interior service again starting on ‘Valentine’s Day’, only at 25% of its capacity.

Jefrey Garcia, NYSRBLA Leader assured that the industry received another “blow to the wing” when the expectation was that it would allow serve 50% inside of these shops, taking into account the variable of this winter climate that discourages diners to be on the outskirts.

“We do not understand if the COVID-19 infection numbers are decreasing, as the governor himself clarifies, because it cannot be allowed to operate same as Long Island, Westchester or New Jersey, if even there the rate of hospitalizations and infections are higher. We don’t understand what the criteria is! ” Garcia reacted.

The spokesperson for this association assures that small Latino gastronomic entrepreneurs from the neighborhoods of The Bronx, Queens, and Upper Manhattan they are the ones who suffer the most from the consequences of these restrictive measures.

“The workers are desperate to get back to work. Why should we wait two weeks. A very important day from a commercial point of view is coming like the Super Bowl. And we will be closed. Our entire union made significant investments for the safety of customers and painfully many are bankrupt “, he stressed.

Open the restaurants!

The Latin Association of Bars and Restaurants in NY has been running a campaign demanding that the authorities “Open the restaurants now! under the argument that just 1.74% of new infections they are produced inside these establishments.

On December 11, before the high wave of coronavirus cases in the Big Apple, the governor issued an executive order for the closure of the interior service of restaurants, which punished hundreds of small premises that did not have the option to extend tables on sidewalks and streets.

Based on New York City data, total cases across the five boroughs are down by one 4.2 percent in the last seven days compared to the weekly average of the previous month. While the number of hospitalizations has decreased by 5.4 percent. Confirmed kills are more or less flat over the same time period.

“We are taking action and decisions based on the numbers, not on any pressure. Now with the emergence of new variants of COVID-19 we must evaluate this situation day by day. Our scientific advice will be the basis of our economic valve opening policies. Valentine’s Day gives time for the industry to prepare. And diners start making their reservations, ”Cuomo said Friday.

Some restaurants have invested in heating systems and air filters to support their customers. (Photo: F. Martínez)

Follow the ‘curfew’

This announcement that was received with “little emotion” by the merchants and the thousands of affected workers comes a few days after the governor indicated that had no plans to authorize the return of indoor meals to the city anytime soon. His administration has been hit by a series of demands from different restaurants and industry groups to reopen these establishments.

Despite pressure from the hospitality industry in New York City, which threatened the state leader with lawsuits, the ‘curfew’ is maintained at 10:00 pm in these establishments.

The state authority did not rule out re-adding more restrictions if the virus changes course once more, but clarified that it is trying to weigh the costs of keeping restaurants closed and further decimate the industry.

The move comes on the heels of several major cities opening interior service last week, including Chicago, Washington D.C. and Philadelphia.

140,000 jobs lost

The executive director of ‘NYC Hospitality Alliance’, Andrew Rigie, shared on his twitter account that these businesses are ready to open right now and with more capacity, because for months they have been preparing to guarantee the health of their customers.

“It is painful for the heart of this industry that while our businesses continue to be limited to 25%, in other cities of the State where the infection rates are much higher, 50% is allowed. Have already been lost 140,000 jobs in bars and restaurants”, Specified the union leader.

When last fall the internal areas of these businesses were authorized to reopen to a quarter of their capacity, it was not profitable for many gastronomic entrepreneurs with commercial spaces reduced to six or eight tables, who reported that they had to cut more than half of their employees.

For another small group, the issue was worse, because not being able to properly control the behavior of some customers they were fined thousands of dollars. And even liquor license suspensions by state health inspectors.

“We know of some union members who were fined up to $ 10,000 simply because customers walked without a mask, or because they stood at the doors of the business on the sidewalks, “commented NYSRBLA sources.

An industry that COVID-19 is wiping out:

  • 27,000 bars and restaurants they operated in the Big Apple prior to the pandemic.
  • 10,300 were able to offer outdoor service from Phase 3 of the economic reopening in New York City that began on June 21.
  • 72 days interior service Only for 25% of customers was the time they were able to check-in thousands of restaurants between September 30 and December 11 of last year due to pandemic restrictions.
  • 198 days between general close of the economy in March and the start of Phase 3 in July meant thousands of dollars in losses for thousands of these businesses, to which They were only allowed to serve their dishes to go.
  • 50% of the total of these establishments until last December ran the risk of permanently closing their doors due to the devastating effects of the pandemic.
  • 88% of these businesses until December they had a month’s rent pending.
  • Eating at a restaurant in times of COVID-19


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