On Thursday, restaurants in New York City filed a $2 billion class-action lawsuit against Gov. Andrew Cuomo, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, and New York Attorneys General to force them to permit indoor dining. “Over 350 restaurants have signed on to the $2 billion lawsuit,” Forbes noted.
“One restaurant in Queens argues customers can walk blocks away into Nassau County if they want to eat indoors. Il Bacco on Northern Boulevard says it is unfair that indoor dining is illegal in Little Neck, but legal just a few blocks east in Great Neck, on Long Island. In fact, New York City is the only city in the state that still does not allow some form of indoor dining,” ABC 7 reported.
Joe Oppedisano, owner of Il Bacco, said, “Every restaurant is packed and me, a block and a half away, I can’t open. The restaurant can have customers on its rooftop, but not on the first two floors of the building. And winter is coming. The weather is warm now, but what happens two or three weeks from now? And then when it rains? I’m lucky I have a rooftop and I have a cover I can open and close, but once it gets cold, I can’t do that anymore,” Newsday reported.
On Monday, New Jersey announced it would permit indoor dining at 25% capacity starting Friday. Governor Phil Murphy stated, “Our goal is to ensure this step is done properly to prevent the kind of spikes we saw in other states that allowed their restaurants to reopen too fully and too quickly.”
Cuomo responded on Monday, “I am aware of that competitive disadvantage for NYC restaurants … I’m aware that restaurants in New York City are very unhappy with doing no indoor dining, I understand the economic consequences, their argument will now be exacerbated [because of NJ] and it’s something that we’re watching and considering. I want as much economic activity as quickly as possible, we also want to make sure transmission rate stays under control. That is the tension.”
On Monday, de Blasio stated at a press conference:
I do expect and pray for a vaccine in the spring that would allow us all to get more back to normal. But I will absolutely tell you that we’re going to keep looking for that situation where we can push down the virus enough that we would have more ability to address indoor dining. We’ll have more to say on that in the coming days, but it would take a huge step forward to get to that point, that’s the truth.
This is not the only recent class-action lawsuit targeting Cuomo for his policies regarding the coronavirus. The Gothamist reported in mid-August:
A group of over 1,500 gym owners from across the state, including at least 500 located in New York City, have filed a class action lawsuit against Governor Andrew Cuomo, New York state, and the state attorney general in an attempt to force the state to allow them to reopen. The businesses involved in the suit include CrossFit, Pilates studios, yoga centers and big box gyms. Attorney James G. Mermigis, who is representing the gyms.
“New York’s positivity rate is 0.99%, after conducting around 66,000 tests on Sunday. Hospitalizations fell to 418, and the number of patients in intensive care was 109—both new lows since mid-March,” The Gothamist pointed out.
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