New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) said on a press call today that he would not allow indoor dining to return in New York City unless local politicians devoted significant police resources to enforcing social distancing and other reopening conditions.
“Our rules and guidance on reopening is only as good as the compliance and the enforcement,” Cuomo said, adding that state resources have already been stretched thin attempting to enforce limits on the serving of alcohol by outdoor restaurants in the city. “If we open restaurants that’s going to complicate by the hundreds if not thousands the number of establishments that have to be monitored.”
Restaurants are allowed to open for outdoor dining in New York City, but can only serve alcohol to seated patrons who’ve also ordered a meal, per a July executive order from Cuomo.
The governor’s latest comments come a day after New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson issued a statement endorsing the reopening of indoor dining areas.
“It’s time to allow indoor dining in New York City with reduced capacity and clear guidance to ensure social distancing and safety,” Johnson said yesterday. “Summer is winding down, and they need to begin planning for the colder months.”
Restaurants in the rest of New York state have been allowed to reopen their dining rooms at 50 percent capacity provided they maintain six feet of distance between parties and following other physical distancing guidelines. Earlier this week, one New York City restaurant filed a $2 billion class-action lawsuit against state and local officials over their continued ban on indoor dining.
“We’re going to contact the Speaker today and say if New York City can say this many police, NYPD, can be put on a task force to monitor the compliance, that is something we can discuss,” Cuomo said during his press call today, suggesting that 4,000 officers would be needed to police indoor dining establishments.