A pair of city politicians is joining a group of restaurant owners to sue Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio over the Big Apple’s continued ban on indoor dining.
Republican state Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis, GOP City Council Minority Leader Steven Matteo and the beleaguered eateries will file the lawsuit Tuesday in Richmond County Supreme Court ahead of an 11 a.m. press conference, the parties told The Post.
“New York City meets the [coronavirus reopening] metrics like every other municipality in the state, yet restaurants are being prohibited from having any indoor dining, and there’s no justification for this,” said Malliotakis — who along with others in the suit is demanding that all restaurants in the five boroughs be allowed to resume indoor dining at at least half capacity.
“We’ve tried to reason with the mayor and the governor, and we have been left with no choice but to proceed with legal action,” she said.
The governor shut down the city’s bars and restaurants in mid-March as coronavirus infections spiked.
Mark Fonte and Louis Gelormino, two of the lawyers involved in the suit, said the filing argues that Cuomo and de Blasio are acting in an arbitrary and capricious manner by keeping indoor dining closed and want a judge to intervene.
“These businesses are incensed at the mayor’s dismissive attitude toward their plight,” Fonte said. “If the weather turns cold and outdoor dining is shut down, we anticipate that about 75 percent of them will close for good.”
Robert Hanley, the general manager of fine-dining eatery Bocelli in the Grasmere neighborhood of Staten Island, said he has had to furlough or lay off two-thirds of his staff.
“The closure has affected us deeply. It has been painful and disheartening,” he said of his reason for joining the suit to reopen indoor dining.
The 5,000-square-foot restaurant has been relegated to serving a handful of socially distanced customers in four outdoor parking spots.
“It’s unsustainable no matter how deep your pockets may be,” he said.
Cuomo spokesman Richard Azzopardi defended the continued ban on indoor dining to The Post.
“The bottom line is that New York City was hit the hardest, and the governor took action to reduce infections in the areas that were driving clusters in other large cities around the country,” Azzopardi said in a statement. “We understand that some people are unhappy, but better unhappy than sick or worse.”
City Hall spokesman Mitch Schwartz declined to comment on the pending litigation but said the mayor is focused on safely opening schools and continuing to evaluate the “extremely dynamic health situation throughout the fall. “