City confuses bathroom use after issuing indoor dining guidelines
STATEN ISLAND, NY – Mayor Bill de Blasio returned Friday to incorrect guidelines issued Thursday night by a city official that patrons at outdoor restaurants could not use restaurant bathrooms.
In reality, these customers will be able to use the indoor toilets, the mayor said during his morning press briefing, at odds with an FAQ from Mayor Kapil Longani’s council office, which stated that using the indoor toilets would not be authorized.
“Each of us sometimes needs to use the toilet,” said de Blasio. “So, yes, there is no doubt that was a mistake. Obviously, people have to use the restroom, and if you go to a restaurant, you have the right to use the restroom.
As of Friday afternoon, the attorney’s office issued a different tweet that clarified guidelines for State Liquor Authority (SLA) regulations that went into effect on Monday with the closure of indoor dining in all five boroughs. .
The new guidelines made it clear that patrons would be allowed inside establishments to use the washrooms and cross.
While guests will be permitted to use indoor washrooms, SLA ordinances will impose restrictions on activities inside restaurants and new regulations regarding outdoor dining facilities, in accordance with an executive order from Governor Andrew Cuomo.
Customers will not be able to place or collect orders inside restaurants. Restaurant owners and their staff may under no circumstances consume alcoholic beverages. They may also not consume meals or non-alcoholic beverages in any area of the establishment frequented by the public.
If owners and staff consume food or non-alcoholic beverages as a group, they will be considered customers for enforcement purposes, according to the SLA. It was not clear how they would go about enforcing the new indoor rules.
Regarding exterior structures, SLA wrote that according to state health ministry regulations, “a structure can only be considered exterior if it has two sides that are in the open air.
A structure with one side open or no side open is considered interior space and cannot be used during the effectiveness of this guide.
Anything that impedes air circulation, such as plastic sheeting, would mean the structure is not seen on the outside.
Rob Deluca, owner of Italian restaurant Deluca’s in Tottenville and president of the Independent Restaurant Owners Association Rescue (IROAR), called the new regulation “ridiculous” and worried about what it would mean for the restaurant community of the city.
He said that while his business offered curbside pickup for take out orders at the start of the pandemic, the cold weather presented new challenges, with people having to wait outside.
Deluca said he’s generally an optimistic person, but the continued restaurant regulations don’t give him much hope for the future.
You really just have to hope and pray for the best at this point, said Deluca. “The future does not look bright for the restaurant industry,” he said. “A lot of guys are going to close their doors this winter.”