NYS Latino Restaurant Bar and Lounge Association sues state, city over restaurants closure
By Moses Kuwema
New York State Latino Restaurant Bar and Lounge Association (NYSRBLA) has sued Governor Andrew Cuomo over the continued closure of restaurants.
But Governor Cuomo during a COVID-19 briefing Wednesday morning said the state will release a plan by the end of the week for starting to reopen restaurants in New York City for indoor dining.
In a statement Wednesday, Governor Cuomo has been sued together with New York City mayor Bill de Blasio by minority restaurant owners throughout the five boroughs.
“The Governor and the mayor want to keep restaurants and lounges closed despite the lowered COVID numbers; we will not survive it another day. This lawsuit sends a strong message to the world that we have had enough,” said Jeffrey Garcia, the president of NYSRBLA.
“While we certainly understand that the Governor and other elected officials responsible for the public health and safety; we cannot continue to keep restaurants closed,” Garcia stated, adding that, “The COVID numbers do not justify keeping restaurants closed and others open. It is unfair.”
“Latinos account for over 50 percent of the restaurant workforce, coming from underserved communities of color. When they lose their jobs, our communities suffer through higher unemployment rates and crime. Closing restaurants is not the only viable solution,” said Garcia. We need our elected officials to understand the massive socio-economic impact these closures are having on the stability of the restaurant industry. It is wiping restaurants off the grid in all communities particularly those of color. It will take forever for us to recover from this.”
And Governor Cuomo said, “I understand the situation on the restaurants in New York City and New York City obviously is in a different situation given the density, given crowding, and we are hyper-cautious in New York City,” Governor Cuomo said.
He said the goal would be to allow for 25 percent capacity for indoor dining.
NYSRBLA responded saying the Governor’s plan was a step in the right direction but they did not agree with the 25 percent indoor dining capacity due to density and being hyper cautious.
“We deserve to be at 50 percent like our counterparts around the state. We have earned it out rate is lower. When was the last time he walked around the city and saw any density of any kind? Our @nygovcuomo and local elected officials are wrong!!! #openusup,” said NYSRBLA in a Tweet.
New York State Restaurant Association (NYSRA) president and CEO Melissa Fleischut released a statement on the state’s decision to roll back restrictions on the industry.
“We thank Governor Cuomo for listening to the calls of restaurant operators and easing restrictions on our industry. New York must continue to take steps towards reopening the economy, and the restaurant industry will do our part to keep our diners and our employees safe,” Fleischut stated.
“We appeal once again to the governor to consider extending the curfew to midnight so that our restaurants are able to have that last turn of diners, which is of vital economic importance to so many of the state’s restaurants. We look forward to our continued discussions with the Governor and his staff about how we can make this work together.”