Struggling catering hall owners push for 50% capacity for events
Catering hall owners, along with others from the wedding industry and brides, rallied in Hauppauge Friday, calling on Gov. Andrew Cuomo to increase their capacity limits amid the pandemic.
Catering halls want their capacity limit increased to 50% instead of the current limit of only 50 people.
Gennaro Tallarico, who manages Fox Hollow in Woodbury, says they are struggling under the current regulations in place to slow the spread of COVID-19.
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“To understand our business, you don’t really start making money until you’re at about 80%,” he says. “Up until 80%, you’re basically paying the bills.”
Tallarico says they have taken steps at Fox Hollow to make it safe for their guests by removing furniture to prevent people from gathering, spreading out tables and to disallow dancing.
“These events haven’t stopped. These events moved,” says Tallarico. “They moved into people’s homes, to their backyards. They moved into event spaces where they don’t have liquor licenses – who are not afraid to open up and break the rules…By limiting us, it’s creating a more dangerous situation.”
It’s hurting other businesses as well, including photographers, florists and DJs.
Heather Cunningham, of Brides of Long Island, says she’s looking for “fairness in capacity.”
“I’m not asking for a packed dance floor. I’m asking for that moment where a father can dance with his little girl,” she said.
Gov. Cuomo’s office said in a statement that large events dramatically increase the risk of COVID-19 and can easily become super-spreader events.
He added that while some are unhappy about the rules, it's better to be “unhappy than sick or worse.”