News & Politics

How Is It 'Dangerous' to Eat Indoors in NYC But 'Safe to Dine Indoors a Few Hundred Feet East'?

AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

Late last week, the Italian restaurant Il Bacco led more than 300 New York City restaurants in filing a class-action lawsuit against Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-N.Y.) and Mayor Bill de Blasio (D-N.Y.C.). Coronavirus lockdown restrictions still ban indoor dining in New York City, even though the case positive rate in the state has remained below 1 percent for weeks. Restaurants in Long Island can serve customers indoors, so long as they remain at 50 percent capacity or less. On Thursday, Gov. Phil Murphy (D-N.J.) announced that New Jersey restaurants can reopen at 25 percent capacity.

Il Bacco, located a mere 500 feet from the Nassau County border, falls under the Big Apple’s more restrictive rules.

“Long Island has been thriving and has been open for indoor dining since June 22,” Tina Marie, a spokeswoman for Il Bacco, told Bayside Live in an interview this week. “We were told that we were going to be open by July 6 and then on July 3, the mayor and the governor had come together and said that we are not be going to reopen for business. Now they’re threatening that we’re not going to reopen for business for the remainder of 2020.”

Please SHARE 🙏🏼Thank you for interviewing our very own Tina Marie for an important message! We hope that this will get the attention of our NY Leadership and we can reopen our indoor dining following regulations for safety!! Don’t let NYC become the #forgottenpeople 'ABC News Fox News Governor Andrew Cuomo CNN 12 News Newsday Mayor Bill de Blasio Queens Chamber of Commerce Bayside Village BID Bayside Bayside, Queens Little Neck

Posted by Il Bacco Ristorante on Monday, August 31, 2020

“According to Gov. [Andrew] Cuomo, it is dangerous to eat at [Il Bacco] in Little Neck, Queens, but it is safe to dine indoors a few hundred feet east,” the lawsuit claims, according to Crain’s New York Business. The lawsuit claims that Cuomo and de Blasio have violated the Fourth and Fifth Amendments by discriminating against New York City restaurants, citing an infection rate in the Big Apple that is equal to or lower than those of Nassau, Suffolk, and Westchester counties.

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“In my opinion, there is no science. These are just speculative ideas on the part of the governor and the mayor, and we have to force their hand because too many businesses are losing everything,” James Mermigis, the attorney representing the restaurants, told Crain’s.

Mermigis also represented more than 1,500 gyms in a class-action lawsuit against Cuomo. After that lawsuit, New York allowed gyms, fitness centers, and yoga studios to open their doors at 33 percent capacity. Similarly, Cuomo lifted bans on protests before Memorial Day after a nursing student who had been arrested twice for protesting filed a First Amendment lawsuit.

“I do think sometimes you have to force the hand. And I believe that you can achieve the same result here,” Mermigis argued. He predicted that the class will grow to between 500 and 750 restaurants. “We’re at a point where if you don’t file a lawsuit, nothing’s gonna get done.”

Some experts have warned that New York City’s dense population increases the risk of rapid viral spread. After all, the Big Apple did form the epicenter for the coronavirus pandemic’s spread throughout the U.S.

Cuomo and de Blasio have held firm on the indoor dining ban, even though Cuomo admitted that New York City restaurants are at a “competitive disadvantage” since diners can cross a bridge or tunnel and eat indoors in New Jersey. De Blasio shifted the buck to Cuomo, insisting that restaurants in the city deserve a timeline, and he added that he hopes the government can release a plan in September.

In July, Madison Avenue businesses sued Cuomo and de Blasio for enabling riots and looting that resulted in $100 million in damages. As the rioters ran rampant, New York police kicked Jewish families off of a playground for violating coronavirus restrictions.

Recently, it seems Cuomo has targeted bars that dare to criticize him, singling them out for suspensions in the name of safety during the coronavirus pandemic.

Cuomo’s disastrous coronavirus order requiring nursing homes to admit patients who had tested positive for COVID-19 may have cost more than 10,000 lives. The Department of Justice is demanding documents from Cuomo and other Democrat governors who issued similar policies as the DOJ considers a civil rights case against these governors.

Cuomo and de Blasio have a great deal to answer for.

Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.

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