New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio suggested Monday that the Big Apple may have to wait until potentially 2021 before it will see its restaurants open their doors again for indoor dining.
“Of course we’ll be back,” de Blasio said during a press conference. “If folks miss the theater, if they miss indoor dining, those things will be back. They’ll be back next year at some point. I think that is overwhelmingly the case.”
The comments come just a few days after de Blasio told "The Brian Lehrer" show on WNYC that there isn't a specific timetable for when the city expects indoor dining to reopen.
"Indoor dining, there is not a plan right now," de Blasio said on the radio show Friday. "There’s not a context for indoor dining. We’re never saying it’s impossible. But we do not, based on what we’ve seen around the world, we do not have a plan for reopening indoor dining in the near term. "
A spokesperson for the mayor's office did not immediately return FOX Business request for comment.
While many restaurants have been able to stay afloat during the summer months due to the availability of outdoor alternatives, the move isn't a feasible option for all restaurants and won't be an option for any come the fall. According to the NYC Hospitality Alliance, there are only about 10,000 restaurants utilizing outdoor dining out of roughly 25,000 total restaurants.
Though restaurants in regions of New York state have been able to reopen at limited capacity as part of Phase 3, restaurants in the city were informed in July that they would not be reopening indoor dining despite the city entering the same phase. De Blasio has previously said that indoor dining may not be able to return until a coronavirus vaccine is found.
“Restaurants in the city have met, sustained, and exceeded all the health metrics that restaurants in the rest of the state has met," executive director for the NYC Hospitalty Alliance Andrew Rigie told "Fox & Friends First." "So not only do they feel like we’re under intense financial pressure but they feel like the law is not being applied equitably to them just because they’re in New York City."
As a result, some NYC restaurant owners, including owner of Staten Island’s Vinum Restaurant and Wine Bar Massimo Felici, have banded together demanding action from the government and are threatening to file a class action lawsuit against de Blasio.
They argue that the government's lack of planning will “devastate” the industry amid the looming threat of shutting down again.
“It will devastate us,” Felici told "Fox & Friends Weekend." “We're not going to survive the year, for sure. If that happens, very few of us will be able to survive that. We barely survived March, April and May, and now we're surviving because of the outdoor [dining].”
At least 2,800 small businesses in the city closed permanently between March 1st and July 10th, including 1,289 restaurants, according to data provided to the New York City Office of the Comptroller by Yelp.