Claiming that the restaurant industry will die a swift death due to the binding COVID-19 restrictions, New York City’s restauranteurs held a wake for itself on Monday, chanting slogans, carrying a symbolic white coffin, and playing bagpipes towards Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Manhattan office.
Around 200 Big Apple restaurant owners marched in resistance to the continual guidelines that curbed their businesses, urging the authorities to take adequate action towards helping them survive economically. For the past several months, restaurants in NYC have been shut for indoor diners and owners are concerned that the 25% capacity of reopening would not be adequate to meet their requirements.
The group that marched towards Cuomo’s office, demanded that indoor dining be immediately expanded to 50 percent capacity and then to 100 percent by Thanksgiving, as well as for Cuomo to push for federal aid for them.
The coffin that was carried by protesters read, “Here Lies NYC Hospitality. DIED 2020,’’ accompanied by the sound of mournful bagpipes, which further expressed their gloom. The protesters marched roughly seven blocks from Eats 38th Street to Cuomo’s office at 633 Third Ave.
Mark Fox, president of Fox Lifestyle Hospitality Group, which owns restaurants such as White Oak Tavern and the Rag Trader organized the event, with the prime motive of pressurizing Cuomo to push for the passage of federal legislation to give ailing eateries financial aid.
Speaking to reporters from The Post, Chris Page, owner of White Oak Tavern in Greenwich Village, who had his 5-year-old son Jackson with him holding a sign that read, ‘Save my daddy’s restaurant’ said, “It was a death march. [Officials’ reopening] plan doesn’t meet our trajectory. It’s like waiting to give someone CPR after they’ve just been pulled from the water — it needs to happen right now, or thousands of bars and restaurants will close for good.”
In a statement to the NY Post, Cuomo rep Jack Stern said, “We sympathize with these business owners, but it’s clear they haven’t been paying attention: Governor Cuomo has streamlined the process for restaurants to expand outdoors, never put an end-date on outdoor dining, allowing bars to sell cocktails via take-out and delivery, and has already said indoor capacity could increase after November 1st if the state’s low infection rate holds. We do agree that the federal government must do more to support everyone impacted by COVID-19 — from small businesses to the state and local governments on the frontlines of the pandemic.”