New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s restrictions on indoor dining in New York City, which are scheduled to be partially lifted on Valentine’s Day, have been a “disaster” for restaurant owners in the five boroughs, restaurateur Vincent Malerba told “The Faulkner Focus” Monday.
Malerba, who owns two restaurants in Staten Island, told host Harris Faulkner that while this is typically one of the busiest times of the year, it is “literally impossible” to persist with outdoor dining in below-freezing temperatures, especially with several inches of snow forecast to slam the East Coat. Malerba also explained that his ability to draw in customers has been hindered by patrons having the option to drive to New Jersey and eat indoors at 50% capacity.
Malerba added that pressure from the community and restaurant owners on city and state leadership has largely gone “in one ear and out the other”. He also joked that perhaps Cuomo has kept restaurants closed so long as a gesture to his ex-girlfriend, celebrity chef Sandra Lee.
He concluded that it has been distressing to see restaurants remain closed in the city even after scientific data suggests that the spread of COVID-19 that can be traced to eateries hovers at around 1%.
On Friday, Cuomo announced that indoor dining will resume In New York City on Valentine’s Day.
“New York City restaurants, [on] our current trajectory, can reopen indoor dining at 25% on Valentine’s Day,” the governor explained. “The restaurants want a period of time so they can notify workers, they can get up to speed for indoor dining, order supplies, etc.”