New York restaurants face a bleak winter without eating inside



Sisay Kassa, the owner of Ethiopian restaurant Lalibela in Harlem, said he believes keeping people six feet from each other indoors, with a 25 percent reduced capacity, is relatively safe.

“We are not asking for 50 percent,” he said. “We don’t expect much. “

He said the company was struggling despite adding cabanas where customers could sit outside.

“No one is going to make a profit right now,” he said. “It’s just surviving.”

Chris Field, 29, managing director of Empellón Taqueria in the West Village, questioned the civil servants’ comprehensive approach by banning dining inside. Empellón has complied with the coronavirus restrictions, he said, but some companies have circumvented regulations by building fully enclosed outdoor spaces.

“We play by the rules, and then it’s just closed at all levels,” Mr. Field said.

At Extra Virgin, Ms Gaton said the restaurant has taken all necessary steps to reopen meals inside safely, with employees wearing masks and gloves providing hand sanitizer to patrons. The restaurant put six feet between the tables and bought partitions for $ 500 each which were placed throughout the restaurant.

“We want to do what we need to do to stay alive, but we need clear direction,” she said. “Give us the rules and enforce the rules, and bad players can’t continue.”

Evelyn Simancas, 44, and her husband David Simancas, 55, returned to Maria’s – one of their favorite local places for guacamole, steak and drinks – on Saturday night for their last chance to dine inside before closing. Ms Simancas said temperature control, social distancing tables and diligent wearing of the mask helped her feel safe inside.

The couple didn’t think indoor meals should come to an end – they would rather eat indoors in cooler weather.


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