"This will be the summer of NYC", De Blasio advocates for the complete grand reopening of the city restaurants and bars
Bill de Blasio, NYC Mayor, urges the whole town to fully re-open this summer, including restaurants and bars.
“This is going to be the summer of New York City,” de Blasio said.
The executive-ordered restrictions so the number of people allowed in restaurants and bars would be eased at that point, with bar seating and the obligation to buy food in order to get booze removed. As a result, some companies are left to pick up the pieces and get back to business as usual (or at least close to it).
Restaurants and bars across the city applauded the governor's decision to ease restrictions, and some industry leaders are now asking for even more. They want delivery fees for third parties (such as food delivery apps) to be permanently capped, and they want to-go alcoholic drinks to remain available.
“Our plan is to fully reopen New York City on July 1st. We are ready for stores to open, for businesses to open, offices, theaters, full strength,” de Blasio said during a Thursday appearance on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, pointing to the state’s progress in distributing vaccines.
At a Thursday press conference, the Mayor clarified that the reopening plans include a complete return for restaurants and bars. De Blasio also said that completely reopening the city may entail “looking into” the use of “vaccine passports” for indoor events, in which restaurants and other businesses can deny service to customers who have not been vaccinated.
The decision to reopen restaurants and bars to maximum capacity ultimately rests with the state legislature. Cuomo seconded the call for reopenings during a press conference on Thursday afternoon, saying that if the city's positivity and hospitalization rates remain low, NYC restaurants might make a complete comeback before July. Safety precautions, including wearing masks and social distancing, will likely remain in place even after restaurants reopen at full capacity, the governor said.
On the other hand, at 75 percent indoor space, NYC restaurants, and bars will be brought in line with new capacity limits in the rest of the state— a move that many of the city's restaurant owners have been lobbying for since the pandemic.
Also on May 7, the city's gyms and wellness centers will be able to increase to 50 percent capacity, and personal care companies such as barbershops will be able to expand to 75 percent capacity.
“We’re easing restrictions on restaurants, personal care services, and gyms to put more money in the pockets of small business owners and working people in New York City, which was hit so hard by the pandemic but, I have no doubt, will come back stronger than ever,” Cuomo said in a statement.
The post-pandemic stimulus check has irritated restaurant owners.
Although many hopes for a fourth stimulus check, some warn of the significant impact government benefits are having on employment restoration and economic revival in what seems to be the culmination of the coronavirus pandemic.
As a local example of the detrimental fact, many NYC restaurants claim they have been impacted by the labor shortage and therefore have been unable to reopen to greater capacity, a measure that is deemed necessary to reinvigorate the economy and tax revenues, which have also been depleted by the population migration, forming a vicious spiral.
"If you do that math, a lot of low-wage workers are encouraged to stay home to maximize their benefit," said Mark Jaffe of the Greater New York Chamber of Commerce to NY1 News.
The City Council agreed in September that New York restaurants could charge up to 10% more in relation to upgrades to ensure social distancing to help them mitigate the damages and additional expenses incurred by the coronavirus pandemic.