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NYC Restaurants Sue State Again Over Latest Indoor Dining Ban

Plus, NYC residents are leaving the city to eat indoors — and more intel

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Tents set up on the side of the street for outdoor dining Photo by Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
Erika Adams is the editor of Eater Boston.

NYC restaurants file lawsuits against latest indoor dining ban

Several NYC restaurants have banded together to sue Gov. Andrew Cuomo — again — over the state’s indoor dining ban in New York City, the Real Deal reports. Two lawsuits were just filed in New York alleging that the ban, which was put in place on December 14, is unconstitutional and should be lifted.

In one suit, co-plaintiffs Kellogg’s Diner in Williamsburg and Toscana in Manhattan argue that the indoor dining ban violates the equal protection and due process clauses of the 14th Amendment. A separate suit filed on behalf of Manhattan’s Seaport House, the Greater New York Merchants’ Alliance, and a restaurant employee, argues that the ban should be overturned on the basis of the due process clause and the First Amendment. Both suits cite the seemingly low COVID-19 transmission rate that can be traced back to restaurants. They are seeking unspecified monetary damages and that the ban be deemed unconstitutional, according to the Real Deal.

James Mermigis, the attorney representing Kellogg’s Diner in this round of lawsuits, was also behind a class-action restaurant lawsuit filed in early September seeking $2 billion in damages over NYC’s first indoor dining ban. Mermigis was also responsible for filing an earlier lawsuit on behalf of 1,500 New York gyms to push the state to allow gyms to reopen.

Cuomo put the indoor dining ban in place in NYC to try and mitigate the rise in positive COVID-19 cases; currently, the COVID-19 positivity rate in NYC stands at 7.45 percent on a rolling seven-day average, sitting well above the 5 percent safety threshold that the city has set.

In other news

New York Times critic Ligaya Mishan reflects on years of eating out in NYC, and how restaurants have shaped Mishan’s experiences of living in the city.

— Williamsburg newcomer Borsalia reported a robbery on Christmas Eve where the only items stolen were about $40 from the tip jar... and all of the restaurant’s pasta.

— NYC diners are decamping to Westchester, Long Island, Connecticut, and New Jersey to eat indoors, according to the New York Post.

— Aroma Espresso Bar in Tribeca has permanently closed down.

— New Year’s Day plans are now set: