Hey, remember when we were supposed to assess how we were doing with the virus this month and see if restaurants could go from 25 to 50 percent capacity in the city on Nov. 1? We do. You might. Apparently Gov. Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio do not.
The restaurants sure remember. They rallied outside City Hall Wednesday, begging to be treated the same as all the eateries elsewhere in the state, which mostly can open at 50 percent. Rally leader, restaurant owner and long-shot mayoral hopeful Peter Guimaraes pointed out that while safety is everyone’s primary concern, prudent measures can be taken to allow for greater indoor capacity, according to ABC. And, he said, “The restaurant industry in NYC will go out of business if no modifications are made.”
Queens has nearly 6,000 restaurants employing tens of thousands, or at least it did before the virus came. We’ll be lucky if half survive. Cuomo hasn’t said a word about easing up on our eateries, but outside of the remaining red zone in Brooklyn, they should be allowed 50 percent capacity now.
The city’s positive test rate for the virus is below 2 percent, despite those recent hikes in a handful of neighborhoods. The trendline looks like that for the state as a whole: virtually flat. We’re just not seeing some great surge.
Not everyone is comfortable eating in a tent on the street next to a propane heater in worsening weather. It’s time to let more people come in from the cold. Fifty percent capacity per restaurant sounds about right for now.