On Thursday, there was a very public feud between Mayor Bill de Blasio and Gov. Andrew Cuomo over who makes the COVID rules.
By all accounts outdoor dining in the dead of a cold, snowy winter has been a dismal failure for most restaurants in the city.
“The most helpful thing to do is bring back indoor dining in a safe way,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams.
Adams joined other elected officials in demanding a reprieve that restaurants be allowed to re-open at 50% of capacity-and that the mandatory closing time be extended from 10 p.m. to midnight.
“If we don’t act quickly, we’re gonna lose our neighborhood restaurants,” said Randy Peers, President, Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce. “And New York City is going to look very different this time next year.”
The decision is up to Cuomo, who has insisted that indoor dining poses a unique risk of COVID-19 infection.
There is a move in the state legislature to limit the governor’s emergency powers.
On Thursday, de Blasio told lawmakers that the city is being shortchanged-especially when it comes to vaccines.
“Let our local leaders, elected leaders and public health officials make decisions that work for them,” de Blasio said. “The power has to go back to the localities.”
Meanwhile, Cuomo warned New Yorkers not to “let their guard down” despite the updated CDC guidance.
“Yesterday the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its guidance regarding quarantine following exposure to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19. According to the guidance, ‘asymptomatic fully vaccinated individuals’, meaning those who have received both shots and at least two weeks have passed since the second shot, are no longer required to quarantine within 90 days after the second shot. From the outset of the pandemic, New York State has followed the science and listened to the experts, and quarantine requirements only for New Yorkers who have received both shots will be similarly updated to reflect the CDC’s new guidance. However, the science regarding COVID transmissibility post-vaccination remains unsettled, and this updated guidance is not an all-clear for New Yorkers to let their guard down. All New Yorkers, including those who have been fully vaccinated, should continue to wear masks, social distance, and be smart until herd immunity is reached and this pandemic is fully relegated to the history books,” Governor Cuomo and NY Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker said in a statement on Thursday.”
His statement came as Citi Field gave out more doses of the COVID vaccine on Thursday, in its second full day of operation.
Citi Field is open to Queens residents, TLC drivers and food delivery workers only, after the city opted to expand who is eligible to be vaccinated at their sites. Appointments are made on the city’s website.
“Citi Field is focused on Queens residents,” de Blasio said. “No one bore the brunt more than Queens residents – Elmhurst and other neighborhoods…. We do need to keep making moves that encourage equity.”
At last check, Citi Field is all booked for now.
For those who were able to book an appointment, the Long Island Rail Road will be operating its Mets-Willets Point stop starting today, with 24-hour service that will run indefinitely. It’s just a 19-minute trip from Penn Station.
“That’s about 84 trains a day, and that’s a viable option for anybody that wants to use mass transportation,” said LIRR President Phil Eng. “And that’s what we’re going to do. We want to give the public options. Getting the vaccine is important, and having this site is vital.”
It’s unclear what will happen with the stadium vaccine centers once sports are set to resume. Governor Cuomo announced on Wednesday that arenas holding more than 10,000 people could reopen starting on February 23rd at 10% capacity.
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