Big Apple eatery owners — already struggling to cope with a second shutdown of indoor dining amid the coronavirus pandemic — were thrown into a panic Thursday night when the Cuomo administration dropped new rules that barred patrons in outdoor spaces from using their indoor bathrooms.
The initial guidance, released publicly by Kapil Longani, counsel to Mayor Bill de Blasio, stated that “customers are not allowed to enter the inside of an SLA-licensed establishment for any reason while the guidance is in effect.”
To the dismay of some eatery owners, the guidance indicated that even the bathrooms would be off-limits.
“If my SLA-licensed establishment is offering outdoor dining, may I allow customers to use the bathroom inside?” reads one of the questions on the document.
“No,” the reply states. “Customers may not enter the inside of the establishment for any reason.”
The regulation threw one city restaurant, Il Posto Accanto on the Lower East Side, into a tailspin.
“The NYSLA new guidance for indoor dining states that customers may not enter the restaurant to use the restroom!!!” said a post on the eatery’s Instagram page. “Please Contact Governor Cuomo and all of our elected officials….This is not human!!!!!”
Andrew Rigie, executive director of the New York City Hospitality Alliance, blasted the guidance as “another example of why restaurants and bars feel like the government is purposely kicking them in the gut and then stopping on their hand when they’re already down.”
“This is absurd and must be fixed ASAP,” he tweeted.
It’s craziness and must be updated and fixed ASAP
— Andrew Rigie (@AndrewRigie) December 18, 2020
Mayor de Blasio was even more blunt, calling the edict “stupid.” And for NYC’s Moronic Mayor to call something stupid, it must be epically idiotic.
“Every one of us needs to use the restroom sometimes,” the mayor said at his daily press briefing Friday.
“There’s no question that was a mistake. I don’t know the nuances of how it happened, it’s just stupid.”
“Obviously, people need to use the bathroom, and if you’re patronizing a restaurant you have a right to use the bathroom,”
Bans Peeing in NYC Restaurants…Oops Our Bad
Sometimes, common-sense rules the day, albeit very quietly and buried in a question-and-answer section. New York State Liquor Authority updated its nonsensical bathroom guidance.
“Customers can now use the bathroom and can enter through the interior to get to a backyard etc.,”
That update appeared on the State Liquor Authority website, in the Q&A section of a page explaining the closure of indoor dining.
An NYC restaurant owner asked:
“I am a licensee with on-premises service privileges and restricted from permitting indoor dining, may patrons use the restrooms?”
For which the SLA says smugly responded:
“Yes, restrooms may of course be used.
Following hours of confusion and anger around the seemingly SLA’s arbitrary asinine rules. The SLA finally admitted, very condensing I might add, that they made an error.
SLA Chairman Vincent Bradley said in a statement.
“This is common sense: of course outdoor dining patrons can use a restaurant’s bathroom as long as they wear a face covering.
That always has been and will continue to be allowed. Our goal here is simple — allowing restaurants and bars to continue operating in a safe manner that protects public health, and we will continue to support the industry through these trying times while keeping New Yorkers safe.”