By Mark Hallum
With the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, which the White House recognizes as the primary authority, predicting up to 200,000 American lives lost to COVID-19 by October, Governor Andrew Cuomo is keeping a strict hand on New York’s reopening.
With Monday being the first day of Phase II reopening for New York City and local officials considering how to manage restaurants and bars serving on sidewalks and streets, Cuomo will come down hard on businesses who don’t manage social distancing and masks among patrons through two executive orders.
First, establishments that disregard the measures to prevent the spread could have their liquor licenses suspended in immediate terms by roving State Liquor Authority inspectors. Second, the governor will grant business certain management rights over sidewalks directly in front of their watering hole giving them the right to uphold mask and distancing requirements.
“People in New York City and Long Island; compliance matters. And it’s not just moral, ethical, communal, it’s legal,” Cuomo said. “The numbers are good because we’re doing what we’re supposed to do.”
Cuomo again called on the city government to step up to the plate to help enforce these matters, which Mayor Bill de Blasio made announcements toward this Thursday morning as well. Starting Monday, the city, under the guidance of the Department of Transportation, will allow seating on adjacent curbs, sidewalks, backyards, patios, and some of the city’s open streets as outdoor seating space.
There will be a self-certification process put in place by DOT on the city’s website for restaurants, which the local government hopes will help 45,000 hospitality industry workers employed. According to de Blasio and DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg, restaurants will even be able to occupy parking spots, of which there are about 3 million in the city.
Cuomo gave Mayor de Blasio a stern warning earlier in the week after crowds of people already indulging in Phase II social life crowded streets in the East Village and Upper East Side. Cuomo threatened to put Manhattan and the Hamptons under PAUSE orders again if the city did not take control and if cases spiked.
While de Blasio pushed back on Cuomo’s threat as an attempt to punish businesses just trying to make money, today, he said the city would work in cooperation with the State Liquor Authority.
Governor Cuomo says the abundance of caution toward the reopening comes for the contemporary example of other states such as Arizona, Texas and California which he claims are seeing increased cases in accordance to loose restrictions.