New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio gave restaurant owners in the city “a great big nothing burger,” Lady Gaga’s father, a restaurant owner in Manhattan, told FOX Business on Thursday in reaction to the governor’s announcement the day before that restaurants may open for indoor dining at 25% capacity amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Joe Germanotta, the owner of Joanne Trattoria on the Upper West Side, told Maria Bartiromo on “Morning’s with Maria” that he thinks 25% capacity “is not going to be enough,” not only for him but for other New York City restaurant owners.
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“It’s not going to carry them through the end of the year for sure,” he continued. “We don’t understand why 50% [capacity] is everywhere else.”
He then pointed out that the situation will create a “ripple effect throughout the city.”
“It’s going to be hard not only on us, but it affects our landlords, it affects our food purveyors, our costs are going to go up, from a food cost perspective,” Germanotta explained. “I can’t bring back more employees. I’m probably going to have to raise prices again.”
He acknowledged that “the health is definitely an issue” and that restaurant owners “do understand that,” but “we have to have a chance to survive.”
Germanotta joined other restaurant owners who are suing Cuomo and de Blasio over the city’s mandated dining restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Cuomo’s announcement Wednesday that New York City restaurants may open for indoor dining at 25% capacity beginning Sept. 30 comes with a laundry list of regulations on how dining rooms may be reopened and came after restaurant owners warned of layoffs and closures with colder weather on the horizon.
Germanotta noted on Thursday that “we have slightly more than 25% now in outdoor dining so Sept. 30, when it gets cold here in New York, we’re going to lose the outdoor so we’re actually going to lose seats.”
“So I mean the governor and the mayor gave us a great big nothing burger, that’s my opinion,” he continued.
Cuomo, during a press conference Wednesday, acknowledged the “economic benefit” of restaurants being opened and the “economic pressure” the industry has faced amid the pandemic.
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“A restaurant is not just the restaurant owner, it’s the kitchen staff, wait staff, there is a whole industry around restaurants,” Cuomo said Wednesday. “And restaurants also pose a possible risk, concentration of people inside with indoor dining.”
De Blasio said on Wednesday that if the five boroughs hit a 2% COVID-19 positivity rate, the city will “immediately reassess.”
When host Maria Bartiromo asked Germanotta, “How are you ensuring that you’ll be able to operate and get through this if you’re not even sure if the indoor dining is going to be long-term?” Germanotta responded: “We can all only do the best we can.”
Bartiromo also asked him how he would deal with the fact that people need to social distance inside restaurants and if he has addressed the new safety guidelines in terms of how he operates his business.
“We spaced out the tables with six feet,” Germanotta said in response. “In addition to that what we did was we hung plexiglass from the ceiling so that there’s physical dividers between the tables.”
“We made sure the pathways for customers to walk through, they were sufficient enough so they weren’t close to other diners,” he continued. “All the staff have received the guidelines, masks, gloves, etc., etc.”
He added that “the guidelines that we received were very vague” and some are hard to understand.
Germanotta predicted that 35% or 40% of the restaurants in New York City will be lost because of all the restrictions amid the pandemic.
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“It’s really sad because the restaurants were probably the primary employer in the city and were the lifeblood of New York City making a comeback,” Germanotta said. “As usual, I think the mayor’s looking for another way to stall our economy and take money out of the hands of small businesses with fines and etc.”
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Fox News’ Brooke Singman contributed to this report.