Another lawsuit over indoor dining heads to NY’s Supreme Court
More than 300 restaurants have joined a class-action lawsuit seeking over $2 billion in damages due to the city’s ongoing indoor dining ban. Il Bacco — a restaurant on the border of Little Neck, Queens and Nassau County — filed the lawsuit on Friday in the state Supreme Court in Manhattan, alleging that Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s executive orders have violated its constitutional rights. In the suit, the Italian restaurant alleges that it can’t serve diners indoors, while its neighbors in Long Island — just 500 feet away — can. “According to Gov. Cuomo, it is dangerous to eat at [Il Bacco] in Little Neck, Queens, but it is safe to dine indoors a few hundred feet east,” the suit says. As of Monday, Crain’s reports that at least 337 restaurateurs have signed onto the class-action suit against the city and state.
The lawsuit will be defended by James Mermigis, the same attorney who filed a $500 million class-action lawsuit against the state on behalf of 1,500 gym owners in August. Following that suit, Gov. Cuomo announced that gyms could reopen at one-third capacity — and it’s likely that Il Bacco is hoping for a similar outcome here, too. Separately, the NYC Hospitality Alliance, an industry group that represents thousands of restaurants across the city, has threatened a lawsuit of its own.
More and more, restauranteurs are demanding answers from city and state officials about an indoor dining plan, especially as New Jersey prepares to open for reduced-capacity indoor dining later this week. Mayor de Blasio previously stated that a return to indoor dining would hinge on the success of other initiatives across the city, like the reopening of schools. However, earlier this week de Blasio seemed to backtrack and hinted that indoor dining would not return until the city had made a “huge step forward” in fighting the virus, possibly including “a vaccine in the spring that will allow us to get more back to normal.”
In other news
— With indoor dining on pause, the best hope for local restaurants is the RESTAURANTS Act, Gothamist writes. The $120 billion fund would support small and locally owned restaurants by covering the difference between revenues earned in 2019 and those expected for 2020.
— A Democratic candidate for NYC Mayor is calling for the immediate opening of restaurants for indoor dining. Aaron Foldenauer will hold a rally on the corner of Broadway and Dyckman Streets in Inwood this morning to call for the city’s full reopening, he says.
— Midtown’s popular Aldo Sohm Wine Bar reopens for outdoor dining this week, six years after it opened its doors. Wine by the glass, bottles, and snacks are available Monday through Friday from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m.
— Queens karaoke club SOHO KTV and Bar was shut down this weekend after a raid from the Sheriff’s Office found the club serving food and alcohol to 75 people indoors.
— Three more Brooklyn businesses lost their liquor licenses this week, including Lover’s Rock in Bed-Stuy and Nancy Restaurant in Cypress Hills.
— Some tipped restaurant workers in NYC and Chicago went on strike yesterday to call for the end of tipped minimum wages.
— One of New York City’s few Burmese restaurants just opened beneath Diversity Plaza in the 74th-Broadway subway station.
— Butterfield Market opened a new spacious grocery store in the former Dean and Deluca space at 1150 Madison Avenue, near 85th Street.