NEW YORK, NY – Restaurants across the city spent the weekend preparing as New York City enters Phase 2 of COVID-19 reopening.
Last week, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that the city was prepared to enter Phase 2 of reopening on Monday, June 22. During Phase 2, restaurants can serve food in outdoor seating areas. Additionally, some non-essential businesses—such as hair salons and barbershops—can reopen.
Restaurant owners across the city have been anxiously waiting for the start of Phase 2. This is the first time restaurants will be able to legally serve customers at their establishments since the lockdown began in mid-March.
Mathias Van Leyden, the owner of a French restaurant in Chelsea, told FOX 5 NY about the changes he is making to ensure that his staff and customers stay safe. Van Leyden placed outdoor tables six feet apart to meet COVID-19 safety guidelines. He also instructed all serving and kitchen staff to wear masks while at work. Van Leyden says he is taking these safety requirements seriously, to avoid paying fines or risk losing the restaurant’s liquor license.
However, other restaurant owners in the city are struggling to strike a balance between public safety and making payroll. A Mediterranean restaurant called Zizi has been allowing customers to use their outdoor seating, even before the start of Phase 2. Head chef, Liran Leibman, explained that this seating provided additional income that allowed the restaurant to stay open and pay their employees during the pandemic.
Many New York City officials say they recognize the strain that restaurants are facing during COVID-19. To increase restaurant capacity during Phase 2, the city is considering closing some streets and using the space for additional seating.
If you or a loved one has contracted COVID-19, the New York Coronavirus attorneys at Finz & Finz, P.C. want to hear from you. Contact our firm today to discuss your case.