N.Y. Restaurants Fail to Upend Cuomo Rules on Indoor Dining

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s restrictions on indoor restaurant dining in New York City were upheld by a state court judge after a challenge from restaurant owners on Staten Island who said the limits will force them to go out of business.

Two eateries, Bocelli Ristorante and Joyce’s Tavern, sued the state in September over Cuomo’s decision to limit indoor dining at New York City restaurants to 25% capacity. They argued that, because Staten Island is more suburban than other parts of city, they should be able to operate at 50% capacity, like restaurants located elsewhere in the state.

On Monday, Judge Thomas P. Aliotta rejected the restaurants’ bid for a preliminary injunction, saying that Cuomo’s limits have a “real and substantial relation to public health and safety within the city of New York” and that the state was within its rights to pass quarantine laws in order to protect the public from the coronavirus pandemic.

The decision came just as Cuomo said the state is focusing on new coronavirus hot spots, including Staten Island.

The restaurants “are not similarly situated to restaurant and bar owners in Westchester or Long Island based upon the demographics of the populations being similar, i.e., middle class suburbia,” Aliotta said. “The 25% rule applies to Staten Island based on its population density, myriad connections to and geographical location within the City of New York. All five counties have been treated equally.”

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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