New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio recently announced that there’s “not a plan” to reopen indoor dining, and staple locations like Fraunces Tavern, the oldest tavern in the city, is at risk of permanently shutting its doors, proprietors Eddie Travers and Dervila Bowler said.
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“It’s like helping the Titanic at the moment,” Travers told “Fox & Friends” Monday.
Operating since 1762, the Colonial American tavern has stood since the American Revolution and even hosted historical figures like George Washington and Continental Army officers.
Bowler reiterated that their business is not just about serving food and drinks but also about providing the historical experience.
“While we have been open for outdoor dining, a lot of our guests are really wanting to try and get back into the historic building,” she said. “It’s the oldest standing structure in Manhattan. And, you know, we also offer 9,000 square feet indoor... We're very lucky with the space that we do have. We could definitely create a safe environment for our guests.”
Bowler said she urges the mayor to speak with industry professionals and explain the necessary steps to be taken and guidelines to be followed in order to reopen indoor dining and save businesses in danger of closing.
“We're very frustrated,” Travers said. “We know what the issues are. … We just need for America to state what they are. When it comes to indoor dining, it's about air quality. If he was to give us the plan, we would take care of that. We've looked into HVAC systems that would make the air quality right. But as business owners, we can't make that investment unless we're told that when we make that investment that we'll be left open.”
The tavern has hired back minimal staff, Bowler added, who all rely on the business to feed their families. Because of this, she said, “there’s a lot of suffering."