Business-starved restaurants will finally receive some answers this month on when indoor dining can return, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Wednesday.
New Jersey restaurants will reopen for indoor dining this Friday. Restaurants across New York resumed indoor dining during Phase 3 of the state’s reopening plan. But Mayor de Blasio and Gov. Andrew Cuomo scrapped the plans for New York City restaurants, because they said that indoor dining has often led to a spike in cases in other states.
Throughout the summer, eateries have relied on outdoor dining services to help them stay afloat, but with fall and cold weather approaching, restaurant owners worry what will happen to their businesses.
During his daily briefing, de Blasio said that restaurants will receive a “final answer” in the next few weeks.
“I think it's our responsibility to give them as clear an answer in the month of September as possible of where we're going,” he said. “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's good news or bad news."
This comes after more than 300 restaurants have joined a class-action lawsuit seeking over $2 billion in damages due to the city’s ongoing ban on indoor dining.
Il Bacco, a restaurant on the border of Queens and Nassau County- filed the lawsuit on Friday, August 28. In the suit the Italian eatery argues that it can’t serve customers indoors, while it’s neighbors on Long Island can, and have been able to for months now.
City Council Speaker Corey Johnson on Wednesday also called for indoor dining to resume.
“We know that the restaurant industry employs many New Yorkers, including many immigrants. Its health and well-being are imperative to our City," said Johnson. "Our restaurants and our City’s economy can’t wait."
Gov. Cuomo has repeatedly said that any decisions regarding indoor dining in New York City will ultimately be up to the state.