Feb. 3, 2021 By Michael Dorgan
Council Member Robert Holden is calling on Governor Andrew Cuomo to immediately reopen indoor dining in New York City at 50 percent capacity.
Holden penned a letter to Cuomo on Feb. 1 demanding that the governor reconsider his decision to make bars and restaurants wait until Valentine’s Day before they can reopen for indoor dining at 25 percent capacity.
The Queens lawmaker said that small business owners are struggling to stay afloat while eateries in neighboring Long Island are “packed” – despite having higher positivity rates than the city average. Indoor dining in Long Island is currently permitted at 50 percent capacity.
“As the governor of this state, you have strung these hardworking restaurants and eateries along for too long, giving false hope of reinstating indoor dining, all with the perception that your decision-making is based on facts,” Holden wrote.
Holden said that official COVID-19 data indicates that that city bars and restaurants should now be open at 50 percent capacity – given the current level of restrictions in Long Island.
“The facts are quite clear,” Holden wrote.
“Nassau County, just a stone’s throw away from Queens County, is currently at 50 percent capacity despite their positivity rate being at 6.5 percent, which is higher than New York City’s 5.8 percent.”
Restaurant owners have lost significant revenue since the latest ban on indoor dining was put in place on Dec. 14.
Cold weather has hampered business for outdoor dining forcing many establishments to close for the winter season — if not for good. Takeout and delivery has brought in modest business for most.
Holden, whose district includes Glendale, Middle Village, Ridgewood, Maspeth, Woodhaven and Woodside, called on Cuomo to “do the right thing” and not let his feud with the mayor cloud his judgment.
“You hold the fate of thousands of business owners in your hand. We should all be concerned that any further damage could be the final nail in our restaurant and hospitality industry coffin.”