Today restaurant workers marched in front of Governor Cuomo’s office in Midtown, demanding support for The Restaurants Act as well as the increase of indoor dining to a 50% capacity.
This morning’s protest was organized by Fox Lifestyle Hospitality Group, who owns and operates several restaurants in Noho, like White Oak Tavern and Sapien Foods. The same group previously led a march at City Hall on September 14th, calling for various forms of government assistance to the industry, including the extension of outdoor dining - which was granted last week.
Mark Fox, the restaurant group’s president, made a speech on 3rd Avenue in front of a crowd of people. He began by acknowledging the recent policy changes that have been put in place to aid the city’s restaurants. “We recognize the measures that have been given to us with drinks to-go and extended outdoor dining. These are great measures and they’re going to help next year in the spring and summer as this city recovers...but they will not save this industry in the fall of this year.”
Fox argued that the majority of the city’s restaurants will close if congress doesn’t pass The Restaurants Act, which would provide $120 billion to non-chain restaurants.
“Governor Cuomo is in the unique position to affect change...We are here outside of Governor Cuomo’s office today to say, pass The Restaurants Act. [He has] the acumen, [he has] the ability, and [he has] the contacts.”
The group’s second demand involves NYC’s indoor dining, which is set to begin this Wednesday, September 30th at a reduced 25% capacity. Fox insisted that Governor Cuomo increase NYC’s reopening of indoor dining to a 50% capacity.
Speaking rhetorically to Governor Cuomo, Fox said, “You gave fifty percent to the rest of the state in June. Long island was packed all summer with fifty percent indoor dining and outdoor cafes full, no spike.” According to the state’s Covid-19 data dashboard, Long Island County’s seven-day average of positive test results has stayed below 1% since mid-June.
Around the same time of the march, Governor Cuomo tweeted that there are currently “elevated positive test rates in Brooklyn.” The governor has maintained that NYC indoor dining can increase to 50% capacity on November 1st, depending on the city’s infection rate and how well restaurants comply with indoor protocols.