‘Killing Us’: NYC Restaurant Workers Beg Cuomo To Ease Restrictions On Indoor Dining

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Rowan Saydlowski Contributor
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A group of New York City restaurant owners and employees led a protest in Times Square against Governor Andrew Cuomo’s restrictions on indoor dining Tuesday.

The gathering was organized by the New York State Latino Restaurant, Bar & Lounge Association, according to a report by Newsweek. The restaurant workers protested Cuomo’s new ban on indoor dining, which began Monday. (RELATED: ‘Trying To Stay Afloat’: New York City Hospitality Groups Speak Out Against Cuomo’s COVID Restrictions)

“Hospitalizations have not stabilized, and with a rising infection rate and NYC’s density, this means that indoor dining is too high of a risk,” Governor Cuomo posted on Twitter last week. He added that outdoor dining and takeout may still continue.

Several local industry leaders reportedly spoke at the protest, including the president of the New York Multi-Cultural Restaurant & Nightlife Chamber of Commerce, Tony Herbert.

“This city is killing us. You’re hurting a lot of New Yorkers,” said Herbert. “Our restaurants are one of the most important avenues of small business in our city. So I say to the governor, I say to the mayor, get your act together now. We need our restaurants open now.”

A statewide contact-tracing report showed that only 2% of New York’s COVID-19 cases came from restaurants and bars, according to Newsweek. 74% of new cases came from private gatherings and household spread.

Andrew Rigie, Executive Director of the New York City Hospital Alliance, reportedly noted at the protest that initial shutdowns at the beginning of the pandemic plummeted restaurant employment from 300,000 to 90,000 jobs. He suggested that now the 100,000 jobs the industry has regained after reopening “could be back on the chopping block.”(RELATED: ‘Let The People Govern Themselves’: New York City Restaurant Owner Describes Mass Business Closures Amid Coronavirus Pandemic)

“New York City will not recover unless our city’s restaurant and nightlife industry are at the core of the recovery,” said Rigie.

A number of public figures have spoken out against Cuomo’s restrictions on restaurants in recent months, including Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy last week and Lady Gaga’s father in September.