NEW YORK - Tables are set up outside the Maizal restaurant on Staten Island's north shore - but not enough people have been dining here.
The cozy eatery is struggling in the pandemic and has cut its staff in half.
What You Need To Know
- City targeting uptick in 10305 and 10314
- Mayor de Blasio says no closures planned at this time
- City plans to flood the areas with contact tracers, PPE, and new testing sites
- De Blasio says fatigue is likely cause of the uptick, similar to what happened in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, and Tremont, the Bronx
Filling their tables really comes down to the weather.
Owner Alejandra Morales worries business will suffer even more as winter draws near.
"It's a challenge for all of us to try and figure it out," she told us.
So Morales is concerned to hear her Mexican restaurant is in one of two areas on Staten Island Mayor Bill de Blasio flagged on Thursday for a spike in COVID-19.
The mayor said the seven-day average of positive coronavirus tests has climbed above 3% in the 10305 and 10314 ZIP codes, and that the persistence and pace of the spread is concerning. The two areas are among five in the borough where the seven-day average of positive coronavirus tests has climbed above 3%.
“We have a challenge,” de Blasio said. "We’re identifying it. We’re acting on it.”
The 10305 ZIP code includes Rosebank on the north shore and east shore communities like South Beach and Midland Beach; 10314 includes Willowbrook, New Springville, and the Staten Island Mall.
The mayor said no shutdowns are planned yet. The governor's office, which also can impose restrictions, did not respond to requests for comment.
Still, Morales is worried.
"We need the customers. 100 percent. We live for them," she said.
The city will open 11 testing sites -- one for rapid testing -- and deploy canvassers urging people to be tested. The city also will dispatch contract tracers and distribute personal protective equipment.
Tougher measures -- like shutdowns -- would be awful for a local barber shop. The owner says business is not great.
"We gotta make a living somehow," Bajram Krasniky told us.
Many on Staten Island criticized the state for not ending some restrictions, like the indoor dining ban, more quickly as the virus retreated over the summer.
And some who attended political rallies here refused to wear masks.
But the mayor said ideology and rallies have nothing to do with the virus spreading. He said people are weary of restrictions.
"Let's be clear; we know it's been a very long road, eight months, going on nine, and we constantly have to remind people how important it is to do the basics," he explained. "To get tested. To wear a mask, to practice social distancing."
In the coming days, the city will be setting up a rapid testing site here at the St. George ferry terminal.
And the city has partnered with Empire Outlets to hand out PPE to shoppers and ferry riders.