He can’t wait for 2021, either!
Gov. Andrew Cuomo put frequent foe Mayor Bill de Blasio on the shelf Thursday as he announced he will work with City Council Speaker Corey Johnson to cook up a plan to bring indoor dining back to the Big Apple as the city’s restaurants struggle to stay afloat.
The three-term governor never mentioned Hizzoner’s name as he demanded city officials step up enforcement of social distancing rules with a task force that includes police officers — instead directing all of his remarks to Johnson, who does not control the NYPD.
Cuomo has long asserted — with little evidence — that compliance with social distancing rules is significantly worse in the five boroughs than elsewhere in the state.
“I agree with the speaker, I would like to see the restaurants open,” Cuomo told reporters during a teleconference, referencing Johnson’s remarks Wednesday that called for a limited restoration of indoor dining.
“However, there is a but,” he added. “The but is our rules and guidance on reopening is only as good as the compliance and the enforcement.”
“We have major problems in New York City with the compliance on the bars, I had beseeched New York City to do a better job on compliance and enforcement,” Cuomo continued, before suggesting that he would like to see as many as 4,000 of Gotham’s cops detailed to social distancing enforcement.
The governor made the remarks as he announced that malls and casinos that have installed coronavirus-blocking filters on their ventilation systems will be able to reopen on Sept. 9 with reduced capacity.
De Blasio had handed off the task of enforcing social distancing guidelines to the far smaller Sheriff’s Office, following a string of violent arrests in May by NYPD officers that were caught on tape and went viral.
“Indoor dining in New York City, I share Speaker Johnson’s opinion,” Cuomo reiterated later. “I want to open the restaurants in New York City. I don’t know how we’re going to do the compliance and by the way, I am open to any suggestions.”
He then added: “If the Restaurant Association has a suggestion as to how we could monitor compliance and do enforcement; if Speaker Johnson wants to say, ‘We’ll have a dedicated task force of NYPD officers who will do this and if the size of that task force matches what we need to monitor’ — I’m open to that, I’m open to suggestions.”
The governor never once mentioned de Blasio’s name during the entire press briefing, and the mayor in turn tartly refused to comment when asked about Cuomo’s remarks during his own simultaneous daily press conference.
“I’m not going to comment on whatever the governor says on any given day,” Hizzoner said just minutes later.
City Hall rolled out two popular al fresco dining programs in recent months to provide restaurants and bars with a lifeline as coronavirus restrictions left dining rooms shuttered across the city.
Officials say 10,000 of the city’s roughly 25,000 restaurants have applied for permits to set up seating on sidewalks and in curb spaces. Separately, the city has shut down some boulevards on weekends to allow restaurants to further expand their outdoor dining capacity by taking over the streets.
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