The owner of a pizza shop in upstate New York is joining dozens of other restauranteurs in a lawsuit against Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat who has implemented harsh and destructive COVID-19 restrictions on private businesses in the Empire State.
“It’s losing a holiday season,” Paul Santora, owner of Santora’s Pizza Pub and Grill in Erie County, told Fox News. “Everywhere else in our district and everywhere around us basically are operating fully and [are] having the best season of their careers, and, right around the corner from us, it’s the same way.”
Thanks to Cuomo’s unilaterally implemented restrictions, Santora is not permitted to host customers for indoor dining.
The lawsuit notes that — according to the New York government’s own figures — less than 1.5% of COVID-19 cases in the state have been traced back to restaurants and/or bars.
“For us,” Santora explained, “we really need the message to be consistent. One day, they’re going and they’re concentrating on percentage rates of positive cases and shuts down to orange, and then, all of the sudden, it changes the hospital beds and it keeps us in orange.”
The suit Santora joined was originally filed the week before Christmas. By the end of last week, more than 40 restaurant owners joined the legal complaint.
Corey Hogan, the attorney representing Santora, told Fox News: “We suggested to the judge — forgetting the constitutionality issues — let’s just look at the fairness of it. The state itself has admitted that restaurants are not the problem. Gov. Cuomo said that. He also said hair salons are not the problem. They’ve been closed down. Now they’ve been allowed to open.”
In New York City alone, at least 1,000 restaurants have permanently closed due to harsh restrictions that sent them into economic ruin, Eater reported.
A spokesperson for Cuomo dismissed the lawsuit, saying it’s a result of people complaining because they just don’t like restrictions.
“We get sued virtually every day for virtually every action taken during this pandemic, and, frankly, I’ve lost track of all the frivolous suits filed against us,” the spokesperson said. “We are moving heaven and earth to contain this virus and we know some people are unhappy, but better to be unhappy than sick or worse.”