New York City restaurant owners are boiling mad over Gov. Cuomo’s tentative announcement that indoor dining would only resume at 25 percent capacity — complaining they can’t survive with three out of every four seats empty.
Cuomo said Wednesday that he’ll have an update on indoor dining in New York City by week’s end — but, “We’re looking at going back to the 25 percent.”
Eatery owners said Thursday that the restrictions were outrageous when their counterparts in other parts of the state were already allowed to open at 50 percent.
“The resturaunts are packed in Nassau and I feel like I’m going to f—ing shoot myself! Are you f—ing kidding me?!” fumed Rocco Sacramento, the owner of Trattoria L’Incontro in Astoria, Queens.
In Nassau County, 6.5 percent of coronavirus tests are coming back positive, but in Queens, it’s only 5.8 percent, according to state data.
New York City restaurants closed to indoor dining entirely in mid-December after being allowed to serve at 25 percent capacity in the fall.
“Twenty-five percent? We can’t! It’s stupid — I’d be losing money,” said Syed Hossain, owner of the 32-seat Tikka Indian Grill in Williamsburg, Brooklyn — which would be able to serve only eight indoor customers at a time.
“What are we going to do with 25 percent? It’s a joke!” agreed Vincent Malerba, 42, who owns four Staten Island restaurants, including Angelina’s Ristorante and Angelina’s Kitchen.
“It’s disgusting. I go to the gym, touch everything, get a haircut, but nobody can go to dinner? You can go to New Jersey, my friends’ restaurants have an hour wait on a Tuesday,” Malerba lamented.
Malerba said there are “no words” to describe how he and other restaurant owners feel about Cuomo.
“His ex-girlfriend was a celebrity chef,” he added, referring to the governor’s gal pal of 14 years, Sandra Lee, 54, who split with him last year. “Maybe that’s why he hates our industry.”
Andrew Rigie, executive director of the New York City Hospitality Alliance, urged a reconsideration of the 25-percent plan.
“New York City has lower infection and hospitalization rates than nearly all counties in the rest of the state where indoor dining is open at 50 percent occupancy,” he noted.
“Our city’s restaurants must be treated equitably and reopened safely.
Asked Thursday whether he had spoken with Cuomo about reopening, Mayor Bill de Blasio said they had a day earlier.
“I love our restaurant community. I think about the restaurants in my neighborhood that I miss going to, and I want to see them survive, and I want to see the people who work in the restaurants have their livelihoods. So, we all want to see indoor dining come back,” Hizzoner said.
“It has to be governed by the data and the science. So, the state will make that decision.
Asked if he would be dining indoors, de Blasio — who had previously opted to stay outdoors — said he would when restrictions are lifted.
“I would, because if indoor dining’s brought back, I’m certain the state will do it with careful restrictions and our Health Department as the agency that does the enforcement is going to be really strong in doing that enforcement,” he said.
“So, if that’s what comes to pass, certainly I would have confidence in it.”
Additional reporting by Nolan Hicks