Rep. Max Rose blasted New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio for “actively trying to kill” off New York City restaurants with his coronavirus response and predicted a majority of eateries could be out of business if change doesn’t come soon.
Rose, a Democrat who represents Staten Island and parts of Brooklyn, took aim at the “idiotic” policy to continue to ban indoor dining at Big Apple restaurants while surrounding suburban regions have opened up in some capacity.
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“They are on life support,” Rose said Tuesday of New York City restaurants in an interview with Fox News. “Come the fall when the temperature starts to go down, if this is not fixed, you will see the majority of our restaurants go out of business.”
Rose commended the hard work and investment that families made to create New York’s once-thriving restaurant business, noting his great grandfather opened a diner in Brooklyn 70 years ago.
“This is as serious and as personal as it gets. When you open a restaurant, it’s not a 9-5. That’s your life and your workers are your family,” Rose said. “You’ve invested everything you have in that. And now what we have in New York City with this mayor is he’s actively trying to kill them.”
The mayor’s office didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
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New York City only allows outdoor dining and takeout, while Gov. Andrew Cuomo has OK’ed the rest of the state to resume indoor eating. De Blasio in August said that he doesn’t have a plan to resume indoor dining, citing the ongoing risk of COVID-19. And on Monday, de Blasio suggested the resumption of indoor dining could hinge on the development of a vaccine, which could take until next year or longer.
“We do expect — and pray for and expect — a vaccine in the spring that will allow us to get more back to normal,” de Blasio said during a news conference. “But I will absolutely tell you, we’re going to keep looking for that situation where we can push down the virus enough where we would have more ability to address indoor dining.”
Rose teamed with a Republican state Sen. Andrew Lanza to write an op-ed Tuesday calling for New York City to open indoor dining at a reduced capacity immediately.
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The disparity between New York City and surrounding regions will be even more evident this week, as New Jersey will reopen indoor dining on Friday at 25 percent capacity.
Rose said it makes no sense for New Yorkers to have no indoor options when the city has flattened the curve and the coronavirus infection rate is at 1 percent.
“All it does is kill our restaurants, kill our economy, kill our workers,” Rose said of the policy.
Rose, who ran ads bashing de Blasio in his freshman bid for Congress two years ago, also took aim at the mayor’s overall COVID-19 response from testing to school strategy.
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“He’s not a leader,” Rose said. “It’s not that we have failed leadership in city hall, we have no leadership.”
“I’m a fourth-generation New Yorker,” Rose added. “I love this city down to my soul. Down to my bones. I’m not going stand by and watch this mayor kill it.”