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NYC restaurants threaten to BAN Gov Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio

Embattled New York City restaurants owners have a new message for Mayor Bill de Blasio and Governor Andrew Cuomo: ‘If we can’t feed our families, we won’t feed yours.’ 

That’s the slogan of thousands of owners who are threatening to ban the politicians from eating at their establishments in response to a blanket ban on indoor dining, according to Michael Quinn, whose family runs the famous Feltman hot dogs brand in Coney Island.  

‘These people need to survive and they spend thousands of dollars doing what they need to do. They’re just not going to make it,’ Quinn told Fox News

‘And it’s not about politics at this point – whether you’re left or right or conservative or Democrat. It’s economic Darwinism at this point. It’s survival of the fittest.’ 

Quinn argued that Cuomo’s move to close indoor dining – which was already only at 25 percent capacity – earlier this month flies in the face of science, given that it accounts for less than two percent of COVID-19 cases, according to data from New York state.

In comparison, 70 percent of cases have been linked to household gatherings, which become more frequent when indoor dining is unavailable, Quinn said. 

Mayor Bill de Blasio

New York City restaurant owners are threatening to ban Gov Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio from eating at their establishments in response to a blanket ban on indoor dining

Cuomo suspended indoor dining in the Big Apple earlier this month, putting further strain on restaurants already struggling to make ends meet during the coronavirus pandemic. Pictured: Customers wait outside Shake Shack in Brooklyn in frigid temperatures on Tuesday

Cuomo suspended indoor dining in the Big Apple earlier this month, putting further strain on restaurants already struggling to make ends meet during the coronavirus pandemic. Pictured: Customers wait outside Shake Shack in Brooklyn in frigid temperatures on Tuesday

Michael Quinn (pictured), whose family runs the famous Feltman hot dogs brand in Coney Island, said he and thousands of other restaurant owners have a message for Cuomo and de Blasio: 'If we can't feed our families, we won't feed yours'

Michael Quinn (pictured), whose family runs the famous Feltman hot dogs brand in Coney Island, said he and thousands of other restaurant owners have a message for Cuomo and de Blasio: ‘If we can’t feed our families, we won’t feed yours’

Restaurant owners have been up in arms for months about New York’s crushingly rigid and constantly shifting coronavirus restrictions which have forced countless businesses to close while others sit on the brink of closure.

Quinn founded the Facebook group ‘NYC Restaurants Open’ as a forum for owners to communicate when the city went into lockdown back in March. 

Frustrations among members of the group have only continued to rise over the course of the following nine months as they scrambled to keep up with Cuomo and de Blasio’s rules by paying out of their own pockets with little help from the government.

The move to close indoor dining just as temperatures plunged came as a final straw for many, said Quinn, who voted for Cuomo and describes himself as a Liberal Democrat.  

He emphasized how restaurants have spent thousands of dollars on equipment to keep staff and customers safe, including new ventilation systems, barriers between tables and heaters for outdoor spaces.  

‘I think these politicians are coming up with rules without using science, without using logic, basically these restaurant owners have to be on their toes because they’ll get a ticket for something they didn’t know,’ he said. 

‘This is not the right size outdoor igloo. This is not the right size ventilation system we need.’   

The move to close indoor dining just as temperatures plunged came as a final straw for many restaurant owners. Pictured: Diners sit outside in Bryant Park on Tuesday

The move to close indoor dining just as temperatures plunged came as a final straw for many restaurant owners. Pictured: Diners sit outside in Bryant Park on Tuesday

Restaurants have spent thousands of dollars on equipment to keep staff and customers safe, including new ventilation systems, barriers between tables and heaters for outdoor spaces. Pictured: Diners sit in an outdoor shelter in Midtown on Saturday

Restaurants have spent thousands of dollars on equipment to keep staff and customers safe, including new ventilation systems, barriers between tables and heaters for outdoor spaces. Pictured: Diners sit in an outdoor shelter in Midtown on Saturday

Brandon Fraye, owner of Pasta by Hudson, echoed Quinn’s complaints. 

‘The mayor and the governor closed down indoor dining. They cost us money. We have food that goes to waste. A case of gloves costs us almost $100 depending on which gloves you’re buying, and I’m going through five boxes a day just to make sure I’m incredibly careful, to make sure my community is safe, my staff is safe,’ Fraye told Fox News. 

Brandon Fraye (pictured), owner of Pasta by Hudson, said restaurants don't have nearly enough money to keep up with Cuomo's rules

Brandon Fraye (pictured), owner of Pasta by Hudson, said restaurants don’t have nearly enough money to keep up with Cuomo’s rules

‘We follow every rule we can to make sure we are preventing transmission and at the same time earning a living to try to make it to next year.’ 

Fraye’s first location in Columbus Circle has been closed since March due to a lack of foot traffic in the area, while his second location in Chelsea remains open for takeout only. 

He said the Chelsea location was already suffering when the state allowed 25 percent capacity indoors earlier this fall, only to shut it down again. 

‘It was hard enough to survive with just a limited capacity,’ he said. 

‘They threw us a bone and said oh, you can operate at 25 percent. That’s not enough to cover your labor, your food costs, supplies and the bag the food goes into. 

‘I used to have 15-20 employees at my old store, and I’m down to five to seven.’

Despite his grievances, Fraye said he won’t join his colleagues in banning Cuomo or de Blasio because he can’t afford to lose any business. 

Cuomo extended a small reprieve to restaurants where indoor dining is suspended on Tuesday by postponing the sales tax deadline until March 2021. 

But Quinn and Fraye say that gesture is too little, too late. 

‘Give us something to give us a fighting chance to really stay alive,’ Fraye said. 

‘When I talk to other restaurant owners and people in the business, there’s a lot of us that look each other in the eye and say: “We’re not going to be here next year.” 

‘I spoke to a bunch of people saying: “I’m just going to try to make it to the end of the year, and see if it looks like it’s going to turn a corner and get better.”

‘But now we all see that it didn’t turn a corner for the restaurant industry, it actually did an about-face and jumped off a cliff.’

Eliza's Local (pictured) on St Marks Place was forced to close permanently after months of crippling coronavirus restrictions

Eliza’s Local (pictured) on St Marks Place was forced to close permanently after months of crippling coronavirus restrictions 

Jules Bistro (pictured), a jazz restaurant in the East Village, was also forced to close

Jules Bistro (pictured), a jazz restaurant in the East Village, was also forced to close

Cuomo sparked renewed outrage last week when he asked the federal government to bail out New York City restaurants and claimed he was doing ‘everything he could’ for them just days after closing indoor dining. 

‘I hope Washington provides relief to restaurants. We’re doing everything we can,’ he said.

His only explanation for the ban is that the rate of transmission in New York is climbing and because New York City is the most densely populated area in the state, the risk of outbreak is highest. 

But New York City currently has the second lowest test positivity rate in the state over a seven-day rolling average. As of Wednesday the rate stood at 4.7 percent, compared with 5.5 percent statewide.    

On Friday, Cuomo warned that a total shutdown – which many are fearing – is not inevitable as he pleaded with New Yorkers to stay vigilant in slowing the spread of the virus. 

Adding to the governor’s concerns is the emergence of a new mutant strain of coronavirus that he believes has already arrived in New York after spreading like wildfire through Britain.  

The new mutant strain is said to be 70 percent more infectious than what has been seen before. It has sent the UK into panic mode and has prompted more than 40 countries to cut off flights from Britain. 

Speaking on a call with reporters on Tuesday, Cuomo said he’d told hospital systems across the state to start performing the ‘complex’ test that identifies the strain.  

No cases of it have been identified in the US yet but Dr. Anthony Fauci and other science experts say it is only a matter of time and is probably already here. 

Cuomo agreed with them on Tuesday and said he wanted to weed it out. 

The warning came as the governor announced that more than 38,000 coronavirus vaccines have already been administered in New York a week after 175,000 doses from Pfizer arrived in the state. 

Another 346,000 doses from Moderna were expected to arrive this week.  


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