On Friday, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio’s office quietly overturned the recent Covid-19 rule restricting outdoor diners from entering restaurants to use the bathroom.
On Thursday night, the NYC Counsel to the Mayor’s website had set forth new guidelines and restrictions as part of the Covid-19 Dining Update. The notice, which ordered the ban on indoor dining, said that at all SLA Licensed establishments such as restaurants, taverns, and clubs, “customers cannot enter the inside of the establishment for any reason”. At the bottom of the notice, it again specifies that “No”, customers may not enter to use the bathroom.
The very next morning, the detail was subtly overturned, the Daily Mail reported. A new update was issued on the website. This time it read, “Customers cannot enter the inside of the establishment for any reason except to use the bathroom.” The note now reads, “Yes”, customers can enter to use the bathroom. Apparently, the city got a good dose of recoil from the State Liquor Authority, which insisted that bathroom use was always allowed. “This is common sense: of course outdoor dining patrons can use a restaurant’s bathroom as long as they wear a face covering. That always has been and will continue to be allowed,” said a spokesman.
“I don’t know the specifics but there was never an intention to tell diners you can’t use a restroom,” said Gov. Cuomo Friday, when grilled about the change. “We thought it was common sense that it didn’t mean using the bathroom”, said Melissa De Rosa, one of his senior aides. “The city issued what they issued yesterday without consulting us. As soon we heard the news reports, the head of the SLA put out a clarifying statement. It was not talking about customers using the bathroom”.
The restaurant industry is already reeling, with over 100,000 jobs lost, any further confusion and restrictions are just the finishing blow. The governor has again shut down all indoor dining throughout the city, even though statistics show that restaurants and bars account for only 1.34 percent of new COVID cases. Published statistics also show that NYC has the second lowest COVID test positivity rate compared to the rest of the state. As per the Daily Mail, Manhattan, which has the most bars and restaurants per square mile than any other borough, has the lowest COVID test positivity rate, at only 2.7 percent. The statewide figure is much higher at 4.7 percent, yet specifically the city’s indoor dining has been shuttered.