Several prominent New York restaurateurs have said that Governor Andrew Cuomo‘s new 10pm dining curfew took another 30 percent out of their already battered revenues.
‘We are getting killed,’ said Noah Tepperburg, co-founder of the Tao Group, which owns Tao and Lavo restaurants. ‘They are just hurting people who are already hurting, throwing out a curfew without giving anyone time to prepare.’
‘Our staff were coming in from 5pm to 1am Now they’re working 5pm to 10pm,’ Tepperburg told the newspaper.
Several prominent New York restaurateurs have said that Governor Andrew Cuomo’s new 10pm dining curfew took another 30 percent out of their already battered revenues
Tables and chairs locked up are left on under an outdoor dining tent at Cafe Luxembourg on Friday in New York City as the restaurant complies with a new shutdown order
Last week, facing rising infections, Cuomo imposed new restrictions as the holiday season approaches, ordering bars, restaurants, gyms and liquor stores to close at 10pm.
Gatherings in private homes are also capped at 10 people under the new rules.
Under the strict new rules, restaurants that fail to clear their dining rooms and outdoor tables of all customers by 10pm risk a $10,000 fine. Indoor dining is already limited to 25 percent capacity in the city.
Restaurateurs argue that the curfew forces more people to squeeze into restaurants in the limited hours, rather than spreading them out.
They also say the stringent requirement that all diners leave the restaurant by 10pm puts them in an awkward position with patrons.
‘It’s not like it’s last call and they can stay. It puts us in a weird position, like parents telling kids to hurry up and finish their dessert,’ James Mallios, owner of Greek restaurant Amali in midtown, told the Post.
‘We are getting killed,’ said Noah Tepperburg (above), co-founder of the Tao Group, which owns Tao and Lavo restaurants. ‘They are just hurting people who are already hurting’
A ‘closed, open restaurants, no gathering after 10PM’ sign is displayed of the door of Cafe Luxembourg on Friday in New York City
Mallios said he also saw sales decline by 30 percent over the weekend and said that the biggest impact will be on restaurant employees.
‘My guys are freaking out. They have kids to feed. It’s the first thing we thought of when the curfew was announced,’ Mallios said.
He said that he might introduce a rolling furlough, and that some restaurant workers may be better off on unemployment.
‘If restaurants shut down altogether, the unemployment insurance system may crash again, so people might be better off filing now. The last time people waited up to three months for their checks,’ he said.
According to data from Yelp released in September, more than 7,000 businesses in New York City have already closed permanently since the start of the pandemic.
After seeing infection numbers drop over the summer, New York, like many other states, is seeing an uptick in new positive cases as the weather grows colder.
On Monday, 3,490 New Yorkers tested positive, or 2.80 percent of the total tested.
Total hospitalizations were at 1,968, and 25 fatalities were attributed to COVID-19 on Monday.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio was on the verge of closing public schools, which teach 1.1 million students, as the city’s seven-day average of test positivity nears 3 percent.
Melissa Fleischut, president of the New York State Restaurant Association, said Cuomo’s new restrictions were a ‘huge blow to the restaurant industry that is desperately trying to stay afloat’ during the pandemic.
‘Our members have put in place procedures and protocols to mitigate the spread, and we’ll continue to do so to ensure the safety of our employees and patrons,’ she said.
‘We understand the logic behind micro-cluster restrictions, but at this time we have concerns about blanket statewide restrictions like this.’