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New York Hospitality Groups Decry Cuomo’s Plan to Shut Down Indoor Dining

Plus, a steakhouse in Midtown got called out on social media for its tented outdoor dining setup that extends over the sidewalk — and more intel

A waiter delivers food to a table at Bottino Restaurant in Chelsea as New York City restaurants open for limited capacity indoor dining on October 1, 2020 in New York.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo has said that NYC restaurants may have to stop indoor dining as soon as Monday
Photo by BRYAN R. SMITH/AFP via Getty Images
Erika Adams is the editor of Eater Boston.

The NYS Restaurant Association and the NYC Hospitality Alliance are not happy with Gov. Cuomo’s plan for a likely ban on indoor dining

New York’s state and city hospitality industry trade groups have swiftly condemned Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s announcement yesterday that indoor dining may shut down in NYC as soon as Monday if COVID-19 hospitalization rates do not stabilize. In separate statements, leaders from both groups decried Cuomo’s plan, saying that the announcement was unfair in light of previous information that the state had disclosed about the vast majority of new COVID-19 cases stemming from private ‘living room’ spread, not indoor dining.

“Based on the current metrics and projections, Governor Cuomo has given New Yorkers a one-week warning that indoor dining will likely be shut down, regardless of the number of positive cases that are specifically tied back to restaurants,” Melissa Fleischut, president and CEO of the New York State Restaurant Association, said in a statement.

Furthermore, Cuomo specified yesterday that NYC restaurants would be forced to fully shut down indoor dining but all other restaurants in the state would still be allowed to operate indoors in a reduced capacity — from 50 percent to 25 percent — further rankling local industry groups.

“Manhattan, the home to the largest number of restaurants in the state, continues to have a more than 100 percent lower positivity rate (2.5 percent) than counties like Albany (5.1 percent), Westchester (6 percent), Suffolk (6.1 percent), and Nassau (4.9 percent) – yet the proposal is to close the city’s indoor dining while keeping those in these other counties open,” Andrew Rigie, executive director of the NYC Hospitality Alliance, said in a statement.

Both trade groups called for more governmental aid if an indoor dining shutdown is implemented.

In other news

— Benjamin Prime Steakhouse in Midtown got skewered on social media yesterday for its tented outdoor dining setup, which extends over the sidewalk and forces passersby to walk inside the tent to get by the venue.

— Midtown Greek restaurant Nerai has spent $120,000 winterizing its outdoor garden area so it can be used through the colder months, according to the New York Post.

— Stanton Pizza on the Lower East Side is permanently shutting down. A sign taped to the front window reads, “Some landlords are cool, ours is not.”

— Time Out Market in Dumbo is temporarily closing down for the winter months.

— Mitchel London Foods, an upscale catering company founded by a former Gracie Mansion chef, has pushed back plans for its upcoming Tribeca restaurant at 279 Church Street, at the corner of White Street. Instead, the company plans to launch a to-go dinner service out of the space within the next three weeks, according to Tribeca Citizen.

— Sullivan Street Bakery has paired up with Brooklyn-based clothing company Flan for a limited-edition collaboration of a bread-themed t-shirt ($50) and a chocolate chip cookie scarf ($70). The two items go on sale on Flan’s site starting December 15, according to a company representative.

— Eataly’s Flatiron rooftop restaurant has transformed into a woodsy hideaway for the winter months, complete with Adirondack chairs, bird houses, and lots of foliage.

— But actually: