Restaurant, bar owners ringing in new year with protest against COVID-19 restrictions

New Year's celebrations were to be a little different during the pandemic, and those in the hospitality business like Jennifer Harrison say they're again paying a price.

News 12 Staff

Jan 1, 2021, 3:15 AM

Updated 1,206 days ago

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Hard-hit restaurant and bar owners on Long Island are protesting state restrictions placed on their businesses to finish off a tough year for their bottom lines.
New Year's celebrations were to be a little different during the pandemic, and those in the hospitality business like Jennifer Harrison say they're again paying a price.
“Guess what everybody’s going to do tonight if they can’t go to their local establishment and allow us to support our families … they’re going to gather at home," says Harrison. “We are gathering in protest of these absurd policies.”  
Harrison organized the rally in hopes of making some noise at the top of 2021. It's taking place at the Ronkonkoma train station from 10 p.m. until about midnight.
Dave Lotito says restaurants and bars can reopen safely.
“If the science and the data proves that the spread is not being caused by the service industry, the restaurants and bars, then why aren’t we lifting the restrictions," says Lotito, of One for the Road Event Services.
George Gallo, a comedian, joined the chorus of calls for changes of some sort.
“It needs to be refined. There needs to be contingencies, back-up plans. There are no solutions to help these people running these small businesses," says Gallo.
Dr. Uzma Sayed is the chair of the COVID-19 Task Force at Good Samaritan Hospital. She has this warning to people who are considering celebrating tonight in public spaces with crowds:
“The key is to be with your immediate household … people that you know, whose behaviors are where you know that they’re not bringing people in from outside of their household into the mix," she says. "Because you don’t know every single person you have interactions with is a risk factor.”  
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