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With More Restrictions On Indoor Dining Looming, Restaurant Officials Ask Gov. Cuomo To Show COVID-19 Data

RYE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- With coronavirus infection rates continuing to soar in New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo is defending the need to put new restrictions on indoor dining. This, as restaurant officials say they want to see the data.

Whether you own a restaurant in the Westchester County town of Rye, which is right next door to Port Chester, currently an orange zone, or in New York City, you should get ready for more restrictions as early as Monday because the governor says indoor dining is a major source of COVID-19 spread, CBS2's Marcia Kramer reported Wednesday.

"We do have data on where the spread is coming from. And we do have data on the matter of spread coming from indoor dining," Cuomo said.

MORECuomo: If COVID Hospitalizations Keep Climbing, Indoor Dining Will Have To Halt In NYC

That's definitely not music to the ears of people who own restaurants and bars in New York City and the suburbs. They are hoping and praying that the state will wait until after the holiday season to impose new restrictions on indoor dining. But the governor has said the ax could fall as early as Monday.

It would entail:

  • Eliminating all indoor dining in New York City
  • Reducing indoor dining in the suburbs and the rest of the state from 50% to 25%, depending regional infection rates

MORECOVID In NYC: Many Residents Have Yet To Show Confidence In Vaccine Process

The governor said bars and restaurants are dangerous because people take off their masks to eat and drink. Budget director Robert Mujica said what contact tracers have found is a major source of infection.

"It's about the fifth or sixth number. Also, it's the largest growing clusters and of known infections. It's traced back back to bars and restaurants, which actually started to make sense as it gets colder and you're moving into indoor dining," Mujica said.

WATCH: Gov. Cuomo Holds Virtual Press Conference On COVID-19

Those numbers don't add up to Peter Madonia, the chairman of the Belmont Business Improvement District, which includes all the restaurants on Arthur Avenue, restaurants that depend on holiday business to stay afloat and keep people employed.

"Being No. 6, I don't know what that means. What's 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5? What are the overarching numbers, what are the aggregate numbers that say the restaurants are driving where we are in terms of hospitalizations and illness?" Madonia said.

MORENew York City Restaurant Owners Worry Businesses Won't Survive Another Indoor Dining Shutdown: 'This Is The End'

The owner of Mario's restaurant said eliminating indoor dining is a big step back.

"It's going to be another disaster we can't afford for this. There are people who want to sit inside. We do offer outdoor dining, but people still want to be inside. This will hurt us and we're starving," Regina Delfino said.

Meanwhile, the governor, who did his first virtual press conference, was joined by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. They both made a pitch for federal aid to avoid devastating tax hikes, layoffs and service cuts.


The governor said it would be "obnoxious coincidence" to lay off thousands of workers, including the very people doing the vaccinations.

"Now we're going to starve state and local governments so they have to lay off the people who do the vaccinations. I mean, it's a level of idiocy," Cuomo said.

"How do you have a recovery if cities and states are collapsing all around you?" de Blasio added.

The governor said that even with federal aid he expects to have to raise taxes. Unanswered are the questions of what taxes and how much.

Cuomo also pointed out that Staten Island now has 25% of the deaths in New York City, but only 5% of the population, data that has likely strengthened his resolve to impose new restrictions in any region where he sees an increase.


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