Closing indoor dining 'just a matter of time': de Blasio

Mayor de Blasio said Thursday it is not a matter of whether indoor dining will again be banned in New York City, but when.

Mayor de Blasio on Thursday said it is “just a matter of time” before New York City shuts down indoor dining at restaurants, likely in the next week or two, based on Covid-19 numbers and remarks by Gov. Cuomo on Wednesday.

De Blasio’s comment was in a transcript from his daily news briefing that was furnished by the Mayor’s Press Office.

“A lot of people’s frustration emanated from the fact that they thought there was another kind of disparity,’ de Blasio said. “They looked at schools closing, and a lot of people say, what about restaurants? Well, the Governor made clear yesterday that it’s just a matter of time before indoor dining will close and other types of things, gyms, other things — anyone who heard those words, orange zone yesterday, the orange zone rules are clear and New York City will, before long, be in that orange zone status.

“I talked to the Governor at length about this yesterday, and that means those restrictions are coming. So, for everyone who honestly might feel somehow a little better, if they knew that indoor dining was going to be closed or gyms were going to be closed. 

“I’m sorry to tell you that for the sake of those business owners and everyone who loves those gyms and loves indoor dining, it’s just a matter of time. It’s very likely to be in the next week or two, and I think you’re going to see that across the board, that there’s going to have to be a lot of tough choices to move us forward.”

The timing could not be worse.

Speaking with the Chronicle earlier on Thursday about new city Department of Transportation regulations on street-based outdoor dining, Tom Grech, president and CEO of the Queens Chamber of Commerce, said this is a critical time of year for many businesses, not just restaurants.

“We’ve just had Diwali,” Grech said. “You will have Thanksgiving, Christmas Chanukah, Kwanzaa and New Year’s — all the traditional cultural holidays.

“These next six weeks are the most critical time of year for businesses in a good year, in the city and especially in Queens. If you have another shutdown, you are risking thousands and thousands of businesses closing for good, something from which we won’t recover.”

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