Cuomo says no indoor dining in NYC without local enforcement mechanism

ByEyewitness News WABC logo
Tuesday, September 8, 2020
Governor Cuomo says indoor dining will not yet resume in NYC
The governor explained the reasons why indoor dining is not yet possible in NYC.

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- Governor Andrew Cuomo laid out his reasons for not reopening indoor dining in New York City.

The governor said he's aware of the "economic pain" being inflicted on city restaurant owners and workers.

"We have seen that opening bars has created a compliance and enforcement nightmare," Cuomo said. "From our experience Upstate, opening indoor dining caused issues."

Governor Cuomo says he's already using the State Liquor Authority to issue summonses and shut down bars and restaurants for non-compliance, but with the city's indoor dining not yet open, there are no more enforcement resources available from the state level.

"I beseeched the local governments to help and they did not," Cuomo said.

Opening indoor dining in New York City would double the number of sites that require compliance within the food and beverage industry.

In order to open, local government must provide an enforcement mechanism, the governor said.

"I would need additional enforcement capacity," he said. "It could be a local police department or it could be local health inspectors."

Cuomo went on to say that on the state task force, they are using environmental inspectors, industry inspectors, and any regulatory compliance officer available.

"If we have the enforcement mechanism in place, we can talk about opening restaurants," he said.

However, the governor said in its current state, "It would be negligent and reckless to open it" with the information we have now.

Some New York City lawmakers are pushing for indoor dining in the city, and some restaurant owners are now filing a class action lawsuit.

The suit is seeking $2 billion in damages, alleging the state is violating the constitutional rights of the owners of more than 150,000 New York City restaurants, many of which have al

ready closed permanently.

New York City is the only city in the state that still does not allow some form of indoor dining, and New Jersey began allowing indoor dining at 25% capacity last Friday.

Connecticut began allowing indoor dining at half capacity in June. The rest of the state outside New York City has allowed indoor dining at half capacity since June.

Last week, de Blasio suggested an announcement could come this month.

"I think it's our responsibility to give them as clear an answer in the month of September as possible, of where we are going," the mayor said Wednesday. "If there can be a timeline, if there can be a set of standards for reopening, we need to decide that in the next few weeks and announce it, whether it is good news or bad news."

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