Governor Closes NYC Indoor Dining

The Governor closed indoor dining in New York City starting this past Monday, December 14. Takeout and delivery is still allowed. The State continues to study the data outside of New York City and will make a determination about further restrictions on restaurants as early as this week. The Governor has warned that indoor dining could be reduced from 50 percent to 25 percent for restaurants outside of New York City if the hospitalization rate continues to climb. And he has made clear a complete shutdown is possible if hospitals are project to be at risk on being overrun.

The Governor has publicly called for Congress to include relief for restaurant owners in their Covid relief bill. He forcefully and directly advocated for including the provisions of the RESTAURANTS Act – the bi-partisan federal proposal to provide grants to independent restaurant owners to compensate for lost income due to the pandemic. We welcome his support, but that’s not enough.

The current state of the public health crisis may necessitate continuing, and perhaps increasing, restrictions upon restaurants and taverns, but such actions will exacerbate the economic crisis the pandemic has caused for the industry. Government at all levels must do everything possible to help get restaurants through to the other side of the pandemic.

The Association has proposed a Restaurant Survival Kit  – a menu of direct economic relief, business flexibility, and regulatory relief measures without which many  businesses may not survive until spring. The key provisions include:

Direct Economic Relief: federal RESTAURANTS Act, state grants for restaurants, no/low interest loans for restaurants, waive penalties & interest on sales tax payments, waive penalties & interest on property tax payments

Business Flexibility: expand outdoor dining, remove state curfew on operations, suspend food requirement for on & off premises consumption, modify outdoor dining rules to permit single-group-occupied enclosed dining spaces located outdoors

Regulatory Relief: eliminate/reduce penalties for non-egregious EO violators after six months without violation, don’t treat non-egregious EO violations as “adverse history,” don’t charge non-egregious EO violators with “failure to supervise,” suspend requirement under SLA Rule 64 authorizing wholesalers to charge fees for small orders, suspend ABC Law provisions limiting credit wholesalers may extend to on premises licensees.