The Daily Caller spoke with New York City restaurant manager Ronan Downs about Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s COVID-19 indoor dining ban, implemented just as winter rolls around in the city.
Downs is involved in multiple bars and restaurants located on Stone Street, a historic cobblestone street in the Financial District. The bars and restaurants on Stone Street have had to continue adapting throughout the global pandemic, and Downs said while he understands restrictions must happen, this latest one might be “a little bit overboard.”
Downs noted that making money is less important than “keeping people alive,” but told the Caller’s Shelby Talcott that he thinks there is a better way to protect the vulnerable populations while still keeping businesses open. (RELATED: NYC’s Oldest Restaurant Survived The American Revolution And A Bombing. Its Owner Says Cuomo’s COVID Restrictions Could Be Its Downfall)
“Definitely the rules have changed, no doubt about it,” Downs said. “Having said that, I would think we all know people who’ve been very sick and who have died, and if we had a choice we’d rather look after the elderly and those more susceptible. I don’t think us making money is as important as keeping people alive.”
“I do think that right now because of the fact that we check, we take temperatures, we make sure people wear the face masks, we make sure that people are seated and they’re not allowed to walk around the restaurants, we would have control,” he added.
Downs continued on to discuss an argument that other restaurant owners have made – that their businesses are able to control the safety of those inside more than a household gathering.
1.43% of COVID-19 cases are coming from restaurants and bars, according to statewide contact tracing data. Households and social gatherings account for almost 74%, the data indicates.
“I think you’re … safer off having the restaurants open at a certain capacity, and I’m thinking around 50% would be a fair capacity for us,” Downs told the Caller.
Downs is involved in Route 66, Beckett’s Bar and Grill, The Dubliner and The Cauldron and Stone Street Tavern, he said. Despite the cold weather and the indoor dining ban, he said New Yorkers have continued to come out and try to support small business owners.
“It is cold, but New Yorkers are very resilient and I have to say thank you to all those who have come to support us. So many New Yorkers have come out. I see them freezing out here and they’re still having their beer, having their burger, whatever it might be. It’s wonderful,” Downs declared.
Ultimately, the local business manager said he would urge politicians to “sit down and “see how difficult it is” for businesses in the city.
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