New York City entered the fourth phase of reopening on Monday, but Gov. Andrew Cuomo warned that if local governments don’t crackdown on large gatherings, the state will re-close bars and restaurants.
During a press conference, Cuomo criticized local governments and police departments — singling out the New York City Police Department — for failing to enforce social distancing rules and prevent large crowds from congregating. His PowerPoint presentation included photos of large outdoor gatherings on the Lower East Side and in Astoria, though he said similar incidents were reported Upstate and on Long Island.
“If young people are going to come out and do something stupid, the local govenments have to enforce the law,” he said.
He said if local authorities fail to do so, the state will roll back part of phase two of reopening — namely, outdoor dining.
“The bad restaurant and bar owners are going to make it worse for the good ones,” he said.
“These restaurants and bars are breaking the law and they are going to make it bad for everyone else because if this continues we’re going to have to roll back the reopening plan and close all bars and restaurants.”
On Sunday, the city suspended Brik Astoria’s ability to serve food and beverages outdoors, Gothamist reported. The move came after crowds partied on Steinway Street for several days.
To force restaurants and bars to close would be a hefty blow to businesses that are already struggling due to the coronavirus crisis, though this isn’t the first time Cuomo has threatened to reverse course on reopening. In June, he vowed to close down non-essential businesses and delay outdoor dining if social distancing rules weren’t obeyed. That announcement followed a slew of complaints filed over gatherings in the Hamptons and Manhattan.
The city started phase four on Monday, which includes the reopening of schools from pre-K through higher education, “low-risk” arts and media production and spectator-free professional sports. There isn’t a phase five as of yet, nor is there any guidance on when indoor dining may resume.
Write to Kathryn Brenzel at [email protected].