As Winter Arrives, NYC Restaurants Demand Changes to COVID-19 Restrictions
With the restaurant business battered by stifling COVID-19 restrictions, hundreds of establishments are demanding changes.
The push is spearheaded by Brooklyn Allied Bars and Restaurants, a coalition that witnessed a twofold increase in membership since the pandemic began. It’s helmed by Andy McDowell of Williamsburg dive Pete’s Candy Store, and recently circulated a petition to force City and state to “make changes” to COVID-19 policy that will help restaurants stay afloat during the winter months.
Industry leaders are calling on Mayor de Blasio and Governor Cuomo to enact the following measures, per the petition:
- Remove 10pm curfew for outdoor dining, alcohol takeout, alcohol delivery. This curfew is unnecessary and has significantly cut into the already meager revenue stream of our businesses.
- Amend problematic guidelines for roadside seating structures. The current guidelines, such as the need to fill barriers with 10,000 lbs – 20,000 lbs of sand or soil, are not possible to meet and present many logistical hurdles.
- Extend the deadline for compliance of roadside seating structures to January 4, 2021. Given the current, detrimental guidelines for roadside seating structures, there is an immediate need to amend the guidelines.
- Offer metrics for reopening or re-closing any aspect of hospitality operations. We need to be able to plan our operations and be clued in to the possibilities ahead of us.
- Unify the inspection force to avoid ambiguous and inconsistent enforcement. There has been a major problem from the inception of Covid era enforcement of inconsistent inspections. The resulting confusion for business owners presents a very significant burden to operators and managers already struggling with heavy workloads and changing regulations.
- End the practice of merging city agency violations, such as DOHMH, DOT, and DOB, with New York State Liquor Authority. NYSLA fines and punishment are very steep and affect the future stability of our businesses. Violations unrelated to alcohol service and commensurate food requirement guidelines should not fall under the purview of or in any way be connected to the NYSLA.