The Pandemic Tyrants Killed the Restaurant Industry in NYC and We Let Them Do It

Posted: Oct 05, 2020 8:15 PM
The Pandemic Tyrants Killed the Restaurant Industry in NYC and We Let Them Do It

Source: AP Photo/Gerald Herbert

At the start of the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic, we braced for something extraordinary. This was unprecedented, it was terrifying, but there was an immediate sense of duty that unlocked in most of our minds and we saw the need for sacrifice. So, we stopped working. We closed our businesses. We took our kids out of school. 

We did all this, and we trusted our leaders as they delivered daily updates and sent messages of encouragement. After all, we elected them to lead, to create jobs, to make our states and our cities better, safer places for all of us. 

But that was six months ago. Those states of emergency declared by governors across the nation that were meant to allow us to gather resources and prepare for the fight against the virus have morphed into months-long power grabs that can only be described as dictatorships in many places. 

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer finally got her just dessert last week when the state Supreme Court ruled that the overreach of the governor's office had gone far beyond the initial need for emergency power consolidation. She was only acting in the interest of the safety of the people, Whitmer said, slamming the court for robbing her of her precious powers. 

Among her most flagrant acts "in the interest of safety" for the people of Michigan, Whitmer and her Attorney General Dana Nessel blasted through precious state resources in a blood-thirsty quest to stop an elderly man from giving haircuts. Nessel described 77-year-old Karl Manke as "selfish" and an "imminent danger" to the public for cutting hair during the pandemic. After flushing millions of taxpayer dollars down the drain in their quest to kill Manke's business for no scientific reason, they lost, and Manke's license was restored in June. 

Manke was fortunate and had the eye of the nation fixed on his successful outcome. But many others weren't so lucky. 

New Yorkers have been dealing with their own tyrant in Gov. Andrew Cuomo who has yet to be checked on his seemingly endless stream of executive orders. Politically affixed to Mayor Bill de Blasio, Cuomo has managed to turn New York City from a thriving metropolis where the working-class blended seamlessly with the upper echelon into a crime-ridden economic pit in only six months. 

Cuomo and de Blasio have abused their offices and their constituents uninterrupted for six months, forcing businesses to close, forcing people out of work, and forcing sick people into nursing homes. The hope that there would be an eventual snapback has waned in NYC, and it's no wonder why. 

And as a new report has shown, there is one industry that is simply not going to come back: restaurants. NY State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli released a report on Thursday that revealed half of NYC's restaurants, the lifeblood of the city, would not be reopening at any point. 

This is not just a blow for tourists who wished at one time they would dine at the Loeb Boathouse in Central Park, or chat with Lidia Bastianich over a Negroni at Felidia. This is an industry that has supported the city through thick and thin for more than a century. It has employed actors with stars in their eyes, students in need of rent money, the world's best sommeliers and chefs, and immigrants from all over the world as a bright shining beacon of American possibility. 

A person could arrive in the Big Apple with little more than the clothes they put on in the morning, a few dollars in their pocket, and a little bit of chutzpah and be at work in a restaurant that very same night, earning their first New York paycheck. 

Restaurants in New York have survived wars, depressions, strikes, crime waves, and even the Spanish Flu pandemic but Cuomo and de Blasio have set it on a path for utter ruin. They deigned to allow restaurants to open their doors once again at the end of September, permitting a mere 25 percent capacity. They expected gratitude from the industry that they voluntarily crippled. 

They were met instead by silence from the shuttered windows and "for lease" signs where bustling New Yorkers and busy waiters once were. 

The restaurant industry in New York was decimated by self-appointed dictators who previously vowed to uphold a system of checks and balances and operate as a representative democracy. They saw power and they took it, turning in nothing but the destruction of the city they were elected to preserve. 

The time to confront the tyrants of New York City is now, while there is still New York City to save. They should have been stopped in their tracks, reigned in from their season of terror, relegated to their respective hovels in Gracie Mansion and Albany. But they weren't, they told us they were keeping us safe. Now we must tell them we are taking the city back.