“We were told that we are on ‘pause’ and will get an update later today or tomorrow,” one Empire State store manager said of the orders she was given after The Post’s story ran.
“We were told to ‘stand by’ while they ‘get their lawyers on it’ ” a Raymour & Flanigan sales associate on Long Island said. The staffer said he got the call moments after he arrived for work on Thursday for the first time since late March, when the pandemic led to nationwide quarantines.
As The Post reported on Wednesday, legions of Raymour & Flanigan employees have been called back to work in recent weeks to reopen their doors to customers, who book one-hour appointments on the company’s Web site.
But the reopenings are taking place at a time when furniture sellers, including Raymour & Flanigan, have been declared non-essential businesses in New York, which means they are only allowed to open for curbside pickup or in-store pickup of previously purchased items, as of May 15.
Businesses in violation of the rules face stiff fines of up to $10,000 in New York and revocation of their licenses. Staffers, meanwhile, have complained that the reopenings put their lives at risk.
Raymour & Flanigan, which also appears to have removed its Web site bookings function, didn’t respond to requests for comment. Ethan Allen, a publicly traded company that has also been allowing customers to book appointments to shop in its New York stores, also didn’t respond to requests for comment.
Big retail chains aren’t the only businesses seeking to defy lockdowns that are extending into their third month with no obvious end in sight. Mom-and-pop retailers are also testing the limits amid growing frustrations over stay-at-home orders that threaten to put them out of business.
As The Post reported on Thursday, Staten Island tanning salon owner Bobby Catone defiantly reopened on Thursday as demonstrators cheered. He was quickly shut down by cops and slapped with a $1,000 ticket.