A group of New York City restaurant and bar owners filed a class-action lawsuit against New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo on Christmas day, arguing that allowing indoor dining actually saves lives, the New York Post reported.
The lawsuit, which was filed in Manhattan federal court, argues that people are being forced to gather inside households because indoor dining is prohibited, the New York Post reported. Because data shows that only 1.4% of coronavirus transmission occur within restaurants and 74% occur from household gatherings, opening restaurants would reduce household gatherings and save lives, the lawsuit says. (RELATED: California Gyms, Restaurants Sue City For Right To Stay Open After New COVID-19 Crackdown)
“We ask for indoor dining to resume to save lives – not to risk them,” the Greater New York Merchants Alliance said, according to the New York Post.
The Seaport House restaurant in Manhattan is listed as the initial plaintiff in the suit, which is expected to draw support from thousands of bars and restaurants that are struggling to survive during coronavirus.
Indoor dining was shut down by state and city officials in December amidst a spike in coronavirus cases.
“There is no science or subsection of the New York or United States constitution that supports this dystopian edict,” the lawsuit reads, according to the report.
“The governor continues to respond to the pandemic with knee jerk responses that only serve to keep an already emotionally frayed citizenry in a never ending state of fear and paranoia,” the case continues. “And, as well, actually is a proximate cause of more spread and deaths related to the pandemic.” (RELATED: Minnesota Attorney General Sues Bar That Defied Shutdown Order)
The restaurant owners also argue that Manhattan, which has a large concentration of eateries, has fewer coronavirus cases than other places that have not been subject to the strict lockdown rules.
New York City businesses “cannot and will not respect or obey any further takings of our fundamental liberty, interests, and freedoms,” the lawsuit says according to the New York Post. The plaintiffs asked the judge to grant a preliminary injunction that would stop the ban on indoor dining and declare it unconstitutional.