Governor Andrew Cuomo’s latest edict against indoor dining at restaurants may be the final nail in the coffins of many formerly thriving New York eateries.

We all want to do what it takes to keep people safe from COVID 19, but where is the science behind the Governor’s edict? He’s not telling us, so far relying only on rising number of hospitalizations to supposedly justify his measure.

But are restaurants really the sources of new cases of COVID?

An article up at Reason reports that only 1.3 percent of COVID 19 infections come from bars and restaurants. Nancy Rommelmann writes:

The latest transmission data show that 74 percent of new COVID-19 cases come from private in-home gatherings, and only 1.3 percent from bars and restaurants. Seeing as they cannot (yet) prevent individuals from being inside their own homes, officials instead press on with a series of decisions that have battered the restaurant industry since March, when eateries were first ordered to close. At that time, establishments got creative: They pivoted to takeout, they sold cocktails on the street, anything to keep some money coming in until they could reopen. Such tactics were not enough. As reported by Eater NYCmore than 1,000 restaurants permanently closed between March and November.

Rommelmann talked to Rick Salas, manager of Elephant & Castle, which has outdoor dining. Salas was forbearing in his take on the government restrictions, but nevertheless knows that, even with heaters, outdoor dining is not going to be comfortable in the winter.

Salas wants to keep his restaurant going and also to continue to employ the staff. Another restauranteur, who wasted days at a dispersal site for promised sandbags, was less understanding, texting unflatteringly about the Governor.

Simone Barron has an arresting blog on this site to the effect that, if restaurants are going to be shut down, the officials making these decisions owe it to them to show them the science behind these ruinous strictures.

So far, the Governor has not revealed the scientific data that leads him to impose rules that will destroy people’s livelihoods and the ambience of a once-great city.

Rommelmann questions the Governor’s logic and paints a haunting picture of the city that is being destroyed:  

It is hard to understand Cuomo’s logic when the closures apply only to New York City and not other areas in the state, where transmission levels are most recently and for the most part higher. He’s previously stated the reasoning has to do with population; that “There is a density level in NYC that is destructive,” a charge his critics might level at him

There has been and will continue to be the ingenuity that comes with needing to survive. For instance, the oyster bar down the street from me recently transformed itself into a wine and provisions shop. Handy if you want to pick up a bottle of red or some fancy salt, but no way for the owner to meet the bottom line.

What does Cuomo expect people to do? Cocoon themselves and emerge resplendent once there’s a vaccine and/or the commands from Albany stop? While some restaurants do plan to go into hibernation mode, the majority will not be able to survive without income; what industry could? Yes, COVID-19 is legitimately scary. Also scary: eradicating that which allows an ecosystem to function. Imagine a city as a board game of interlocking pieces. Take away the schools, the gyms, the bars, the restaurants. Cut back on services like the subway, which New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority says might need to slow by 40 percent. How long before New York City no longer fits together? And what develops in the chasms? 

“You walk up Bleecker and some of the other streets [in the Village] and it’s all empty storefront after empty storefront after empty storefront,” says Dov, waiting for friends at a café table at Greenwich Avenue’s Le Baratin. “I think this city is going to have a dip of pretty high crime at some point.”

New York is now a city under hibernation orders.