NEW YORK (WCBS 880) – About 100 restaurants in Brooklyn and Staten Island plan to file a class action lawsuit against the city and state to force them to allow indoor dining.
Restaurant owners say if they can’t bring patrons back inside when the cold weather settles in, they might not survive the winter.
The owners argue that it’s unfair that indoor dining has returned to other parts of New York state, but is still prohibited in the city.
On Staten Island, Tommy Casatelli’s taco shop Ho'Brah has tables along Forest Avenue—but Casatelli said he’s barely hanging on.
“We’re fighting to survive,” Casatelli said. “We feel we’re being unjustly punished, because we see restaurants a few short miles away, a few ZIP codes away, that are open for indoor dining and yet we are still not.”
Indoor dining was supposed to return to New York City in early July, but Mayor Bill de Blasio put it off indefinitely when the coronavirus spiked in other parts of the country that reopened too soon.
De Blasio said indoor dining might not return until there is a coronavirus vaccine.
“We have to see a lot more improvement in fighting this virus before we could consider it,” the mayor said.
An attorney for the restaurants, Mark Fonte, said a suit will be filed in Staten Island Supreme Court in the coming days.
“What does the mayor care? He gets his paycheck. But small businesses are suffering and it’s time to end that suffering, and it’s time to bring a lawsuit,” Fonte said.