NEW YORK CITY — Indoor dining was suspended Monday in New York City due to rising COVID-19 cases, and the latest sign of a shutdown that officials said could be on the horizon. But when it comes to eating out, come Wednesday, the options will be beyond limited due to a forecasted snowstorm.
“Roadway dining” outdoors will be suspended beginning at 2 p.m. Wednesday, the Department of Sanitation said Monday. Restaurants will be allowed to reopen their roadway outdoor dining setups Thursday evening or Friday morning, depending on how much snow actually comes our way.
As of Monday evening, the city said restaurants didn’t have to remove any structures or barriers they’d set up, aside from tables and chairs. Electrical heaters in roadways should be removed, and any overhead coverings should be removed, or regularly cleared of accumulation.
The dual dining changes are each another blow to restaurant workers and owners already anticipating a long and cold winter.
Lou Martins, the owner of Bistro Casa Azul on Pleasant Avenue in East Harlem said the indoor dining restriction is detrimental to the industry.
“We will be closed with a low transmission rate in New York City and others stay open,” he said. “It doesn’t make any sense.”
Indoor dining is allowed in counties outside of the city, but Gov. Andrew Cuomo said trends show trouble in the city, expected in the coming weeks.
Martins is networking with other restaurateurs in East Harlem, including Evette Zayas of Cakeburgers on East 120th Street and Giselle Malave of Sapoara Bar & Grill on First Avenue.
They said state and federal funding will be needed to make it through.
William Mack represents tenants, businesses and restaurants as a partner at Davidoff Hutcher & Citron.
“This is the critical time right now,” he said.
Leaders in Washington have been debating a second round of federal funding for months.
At his Monday news conference, Cuomo said any plans for state tax breaks or cuts should be done during budget negations.
The state legislature is in session next month.