Coronavirus cases have remained low in New York City, allowing more businesses to reopen with each phase.
But restaurant owners feel they’re getting the short end of the stick.
While bowling allies, museums and even gyms have been given the green light to reopen, indoor dining is still not permitted, even with restrictions.
Just last week, restaurant owners on Staten Island threatened to file a lawsuit against the city.
“We’re fighting to survive. We feel we are being unjustly punished because we are restaurants. We’ve seen restaurants a few short miles away, a few zip codes away that are open for indoor dining, and we’re still not,” said Thomas Casatelli, owner of Mexican restaurant Ho’Brah in the West Brighton section of Staten Island.
Casatelli is one of the restaurateurs planning to file a class action lawsuit against the city.
The lawsuit will contend that the mayor and governor have exceeded their authority by banning indoor dining in New York City, when it's permitted on Long Island, Westchester, and most other regions statewide.
While he isn’t one planning to file a lawuit, another Staten Island restauranteur, Richard Nicotra, agreed with the unfair treatment, saying business owners are struggling.
“We just want a fighting chance. Let us open up 25 percent, 30 percent. Some plan has to be in place before the winter time comes for the restauranteurs on Staten Island,” he told NY1.
He and his wife Lois Nicotra own Lorenzo’s Restaurant, Bar & Cabaret, COMMONS Cafe and several real estate properties on Staten Island.
“Do you know what it is to make a payroll every week? Do you know what it is to put your house up for collateral to a bank,” said Richard. "If you don’t make that mortgage payment, they come and take your restaurant and your house."
The pair agrees that safety comes first, but also believe appropriate guidelines can be issued to prioritize that, just like they have for other industries and restaurants in nearby areas.
“It has been paramount in our minds to make sure that our employees are safe and that our guests are safe. And I guess we just really need a plan in place, something that we can follow, guidelines to follow, so that we can open indoor dining,” said Lois.
Richard and Lois Nicotra were both guests on “One New York” Monday morning.