NEW YORK - Ilili, a large Mediterranean restaurant on Manhattan's Fifth Avenue, has been shuttered since mid-March.
“We were planning on announcing opening to the public tomorrow via email," said Philippe Massoud, Ilili's chef and owner.
And his plans may now be derailed.
“Indoor dining has shown that it's been problematic. We want to study this issue primarily New York City on indoor dining," said Governor Andrew Cuomo on Monday.
“Delaying the opening should trigger extending all the steps that have been taken to help us out and help others. Every time you push the goal post you need to push everything else that has allowed us to stay afloat. We are reaching a threshold that is very dangerous. Evictions, unemployment, PPP," Massoud said.
New York City is slated to enter Phase Three of the state’s reopening plan next week. That phase includes reopening personal care services, like nail salons, and allowing indoor dining at reduced capacity.
But as states across the nation see drastic increases in cases, the governor and the mayor want to examine whether restaurants should open for indoor dining so soon.
They are examining the issue over the next several days.
It’s an examination the governor argues could prevent a resurgence of the virus — something he demonstrated in an unusual way on Monday.
As a backdrop, the governor unveiled a sculpture his office made of a mountain to symbolize how many COVID-19 cases we once had.
“We don’t want to climb this mountain again," Cuomo said.
The metaphor may not win over restauranteurs who are struggling and waiting for answers.
“We are already on life support. We are in the emergency room. Pulling the plug could really kill the patient. We are all in that dire situation," Massoud noted.
The governor says he will make a decision about indoor dining by Wednesday. Hopefully that will give the staff here at Ilili enough time to plan ahead.