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What a lump of coal to put in the stockings of struggling bars and restaurants and their thousands of workers: Gov. Cuomo is banning indoor dining in the city as of Monday — though his own data show such businesses account for very little of the state’s COVID-19 spread.
In other words, he’s ignoring the science as he puts even more New Yorkers out of work in a dismal economy just two weeks before Christmas.
“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,” Cuomo said Friday. Yet the city’s hospitalization rate is below the state average; several regions have higher rates — yet his ban applies only to the city.
Plus, just minutes before, he showed a slide with the results of statewide contact-tracing data: Of 46,000 COVID cases from September to November, just 1.43 percent were tied to bars and restaurants. The vast majority of known exposures, 73.84 percent, came from private household gatherings.
Yet now the gov is closing off virtually the only public places New Yorkers can socialize, likely driving more of them to such private gatherings.
Bars and restaurants have struggled for months under Cuomo’s mandates. Indoor dining only resumed Sept. 30 after a six-month shutdown, at just 25 percent capacity, while it’s been 50 percent capacity everywhere else in state. The Drinktator ruled that you can only enjoy an alcohol drink if you buy a substantial meal with it, and put a 10 p.m. curfew on eateries in the city that never sleeps.
“Yes, there will be economic hardship,” Cuomo admitted Friday, “but we have compensated in other ways,” such as “aggressively expanded” outdoor dining. Please. Winter is almost here, and many eateries can’t manage heated patios. He’s all but shuttering an industry with tight margins pre-pandemic during its most profitable time of year.
In a new National Restaurant Association survey, 54 percent of New York state eateries don’t expect to survive the next six months without government help; the national average is 37 percent. And the city’s 13.2 percent unemployment rate is nearly twice the national average of 6.9 percent.
Cuomo’s solution? “The federal government must provide relief to these bars and restaurants in this next package,” he insists.
Our governor ruins lives and kills dreams, then says it’s Uncle Sam’s job to fix it. Some leadership.