Roseann McSorely has reason to smile again, even though you may not be able to see her smile under her mask. She’s happy because, until now, she said her calls for action have fallen on deaf ears.
She’s spent nearly the past two months trying to get someone to notice that her restaurant and others in one section of Queens and in three other New York City neighborhoods were still in state sanctioned COVID-19 yellow zones.
“We started to call some of the elected officials and ask — the Queens borough president, senators, council members — and we’re asking them why aren't we screaming about this?” McSorely said.
McSorely wanted to see something done because being in a yellow zone comes with an additional restriction that she can only seat four people to a table, no exceptions.
On Monday, that will no longer be the case.
Governor Andrew Cuomo announced on Wednesday that the remaining yellow zones will be lifted on March 22.
NY1 first reported on the remaining yellow zones on Monday after receiving a tip from McSorely about the situation.
“So I think what happened is, it was forgotten, there were bigger agendas, bigger fish to fry,” McSorely said, “[NY1] provided awareness for this.”
Prior to the governor’s announcement, NY1 had reached out to the Governor’s Office and the New York State Department of Health repeatedly for comment on our story and they did not provide comment.
After Cuomo’s announcement, however, we revisited Sweet Spot sports bar in Astoria.
We featured the business during our original report on Monday and wanted to get his reaction to the governor’s decision to lift all remaining yellow zones.
“They are not doing us any favors. They are putting us to where it should have been a long long time ago,” said Harry Panagiotopoulos, the owner of Sweet Spot. “It was honestly you guys.”
There are still some more regulations that restaurant owners and those in the industry believe still need to be addressed as COVID-19 rates fall and vaccination numbers continue to climb.
"We also need to allow restaurants to serve later until at least midnight, instead of the 11 p.m. curfew that's currently in effect and also allow people to sit safely up at bars, so they can accommodate more guests in a socially distanced manner,” said Andrew Rigie of NYC Hospitality Alliance.