Restaurant Lawsuit to Proceed Unless Deal Made
Last week, Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis (R,C,I-Brooklyn, Staten Island), City Council Minority Leader Steven Matteo, along with local attorneys and restaurant owners, announced their intention to file a class-action lawsuit against Gov. Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio demanding the opening of indoor dining in New York City unless a deal is made within the next week. To date, over 125 restaurants have signed on to the lawsuit, and more are being added daily.
This comes on the heels of a recent New York State Restaurant Association (NYSRA) survey, where nearly 90 percent of New Yorks restaurant owners said their businesses are somewhat unlikely to be profitable in the next six months without help from the government. About 200,000 employees in NYCs restaurant industry are without work due to mandated closures. Despite meeting the metrics set by Gov. Cuomo, NYC remains the only municipality in the state restricted from reopening indoor dining.
I was encouraged to hear that the governor said he may now consider indoor dining, but the mayor is still playing games, said Malliotakis. Unless we are given a definitive plan this week, we will have no choice but to proceed with our planned legal action. It makes no sense to continue to punish our restaurants when we meet the metrics, and the statistics for the rest of the state have proven we could continue with indoor dining safely.
We have been told so often that science will guide the reopening of businesses in this state, but this apparently does not apply to indoor dining. Neither the mayor nor the governor have provided one piece of data to explain why it is now safe to dine indoors in neighboring Westchester or Rockland counties, but dangerous to dine inside in the five boroughs of New York City. We should at least move forward with a pilot program on Staten Island, so restaurants can prove that customers can dine indoors just as safely as they do in other places," said Minority Leader Steven Matteo. "But if the mayor and governor continue to do nothing, the only way forward is through the courts.
We have been contacted by thousands of restaurant owners throughout the city, said attorneys Lou Gelormino and Mark Fonte. Obviously, they are completely frustrated, and many are literally close to bankruptcy. Because we want to help as many as possible, we are still in the process of gathering plaintiffs, doing the research and drafting the complaint. We expect to have it finalized sometime next week.
Were really hoping that the mayor and the governor can work together to open indoor dining in NYC soon. New Jersey is opening Friday, so what about us. Other parts of NY state have had indoor dining at 50% for almost 3 months now with no spikes in COVID. With our numbers in NYC historically low, the time is now to allow indoor dining. We dont want to start a lawsuit against the city and state, its not who we are as people, but we are willing to move forward because theyre leaving us no choice. We have the right to work and provide for our families. We want to do that safely and responsibly. There are nearly half a million families who depend on restaurants for income in NYC. So, for the families of NYC restaurant employees... Mayor De Blasio and Governor Cuomo allow NYC indoor dining now, said Robert DeLuca, Owner of DeLucas Italian Restaurant, spokesman for IROAR Independent Restaurant Owners Association Rescue.
Malliotakis is encouraging any restaurant owners to join the lawsuit, which may be viewed at the Independent Restaurant Owners Rescue, iroarnyc.com