Queens Restaurant Leads $2 Billion Class-Action Lawsuit Against NY Over Covid19 Lockdowns

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Il Bacco, a three-level Italian restaurant in Little Neck, NY, is suing New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio and the New York State attorney general’s office for damages incurred due to the Covid19 lockdown.

Il Bacco is located 500 feet from the border with Nassau County, Long Island. Indoor dining is allowed there at 50% of a restaurant’s capacity.

“If a restaurant patron travels five hundred feet east or one city block east from [Il Bacco], patrons are in Nassau County and can enjoy indoor dining in an air conditioned room,” the lawsuit reads. “According to Governor Cuomo, it is dangerous to eat at [Il Bacco] in Little Neck, Queens, but it is safe to dine indoors a few hundred feet east.”

“There is absolutely NO SCIENCE that will prove that ‘indoor dining’ is safer one city bock east from [Il Bacco],” it adds.

According to attorney James Mermigis, 350 more restaurants have signed on to the $2 billion class action lawsuit so far.

“The NYC restaurants can no longer survive without indoor dining. We hope to get the same outcome as we did for the gyms,” Mermigis told Gothamist. “We want the State and the City to show us the science that indoor dining in NYC is more dangerous or problematic than indoor dining in Albany or Buffalo or Rochester. These restrictions are random and arbitrary and we intend to challenge them.”

“Every restaurant is packed and me, a block and a half away, I can’t open,” Joe Oppedisano, owner of Il Bacco, said. Oppedisano has already had to lay off a third of his staff of about 60. He’s concerned that he’ll have to close altogether if he’s not allowed to open before the winter comes and his ability to offer outdoor dining ends.

Just last week Cuomo (D) admitted that there are no plans, nor negotiations, to allow New York City’s restaurants to reopen.

“If we now open restaurants, that is going to complicate by the hundreds, if not thousands, the number of establishments that have to be monitored,” he said. “How is that gonna happen? I don’t have any more state resources to do it.”

Photo by James Carmine

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