October 23, 2020
Restaurants, delis, and pubs are the lifeblood of our neighborhoods. They’re places we go to congregate with colleagues, celebrate with family, and catch up on “hyperlocal” news and gossip with neighbors. Much of the character and vibrancy of a neighborhood is found in its eateries.
On April 13, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced a Northeast regional plan to reopen the state’s economy in coordination with New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Delaware: “We have reached a plateau in the number of cases and . . . should start looking forward to reopening but with a plan. The art form will be doing it smartly, in a coordinated way, cooperatively and share intelligence.”
Unfortunately, Cuomo long ago ditched the idea of coordinating the full reopening of New York City with nearby states, and the Big Apple lagged months behind other regions in the state—and in the entire Northeast—to allow indoor dining and drinking.
Coincidentally or not, days after a planned class-action suit by more than 450 restaurants in New York City got local media coverage in early September, Cuomo relented—exactly one iota—and announced restaurants in the five boroughs could offer limited indoor seating starting September 30.
Restaurants in Nassau, Suffolk, Westchester and other suburban counties have been allowed to offer indoor seating at half of maximum occupancy since the middle of June, and are subject to significantly laxer mandatory practices.