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How Closing Indoor Dining Increases COVID-19 Spread by Over 2400%

An Empty Restaurant

NY Governor Cuomo & NYC Mayor Di Blasio along with many Governors throughout the US have continually said to follow the science. Perhaps they skipped math class?

Here is the math: 

As per the CDC and the Governor’s office, 74% of COVID-19 is spread from home gatherings or “Living Room Gatherings” as the Governor likes to call it. 1.43% of the spread is from Indoor Dining. When you stop hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers from dining indoors, many will go to home gatherings instead – especially when celebrating holidays like New Year’s Eve. (Below is the link from the December 11th Governor’s briefing where he states this fact.)

In order to illustrate this point, let’s use an arbitrary number of 100,000 as the number to estimate COVID-19 spread. Instead of 100k New Yorkers dining indoors at restaurants which would spread the COVID-19 by 1430 (100k times 1.43%.) Then, Let’s suppose half or 50k of the would-be indoor diners go to home gatherings instead of visiting restaurants. This spreads COVID-19 by 74%. 50,000 x 74% = 37k. 

The indoor closure could increase COVID-19 by 35,570 cases. An increase of 2487%.

Add to the mix the devastating effects of putting restaurant employees out of work, putting proud restaurant entrepreneurs under immense financial pressure, and in the worst-case forcing them to close their restaurants causing a financially devastating rippling effect. You have read about so many other devasting effects of closing businesses to include substance abuse increases, poorer sleep, suicide, overeating, or lack of eating because of one’s inability to afford food. 

Why don’t we follow the math for a minute? “Following the science” has made many ignorant of common sense. 

New Yorkers eat out 130% more than other states and I am one of those New Yorkers. What I have observed is a restaurant industry that has been immensely responsible and committed to their health, their employee’s health, and the public’s health. Of course, there will always be a small percentage of irresponsible businesses. You can essentially multiply that by 74% when you put people in a home gathering. New York Diners are responsible and will choose the responsible restaurants to dine in at. 

Government decision-makers are also ignorant of the fact that New Yorkers are traveling right across the county lines and across the various bridges in order to eat indoors in neighboring counties and states. 

Where are the city & state political representatives? Did you miss the math class too? Is politics, as usual, the game you are playing when millions of people are suffering from poor choices made by our Mayor and Governor. Wake up and represent your constituents in a way that will make them proud. Of course, we understand that the loss of one life is too many and one needs to look beyond the science to see the real picture and evaluate the other factors closing businesses causes. 

The Office of the State Deputy Comptroller for the City of New York compiles data. Here are some useful links:

The Restaurant Industry in New York City: Tracking the Recovery (state.ny.us)

Gov. Cuomo’s coronavirus briefing (part 1) – December 11, 2020 – YouTube

The Double Pandemic Of Social Isolation And COVID-19: Cross-Sector Policy Must Address Both | Health Affairs

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