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Diner owner begs Gov. Cuomo to reopen upstate NY: ‘There is no reason why we can’t open up now’

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Diner owner urges Gov. Cuomo to reopen upstate NY: ‘There is no reason why we can’t open up now’

Restaurants will not be able to survive for much longer under the devastating economic impact of coronavirus shutdown orders, Crazy Otto’s Empire Diner owner Scott Tranter said Saturday
Appearing on “Fox & Friends Weekend” with host Griff Jenkins, Tranter said that the current number of cases in Herkimer would allow for a reopening.

“This has been absolutely devastating. We in Herkimer here are not downplaying the coronavirus. It’s real. I have a daughter-in-law on the front lines [and] a sister-in-law in Massachusetts. It’s real, but not like that up here,” he stated. “We have had basically — not to minimize this — three deaths. 19 people have it. No hospitalizations.”

“[It’s been] devastating economically to businesses that have closed [and] are never going to reopen. We had 22 employees that we had to lay off. We just got the [Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)] brought…15 of them back last week,” Tranter explained.

“If you look at the statistics, if you look at the data, there’s no reason why we can’t open up now,” he remarked. “And, that’s my message to the governor.”

“They keep changing the goal post. They keep changing the dates. They keep moving it forward and now [for] restaurants basically they are saying Phase 3 or Phase 4. And, you are talking July. And, all the businesses will — especially the mom and pop organizations — will not be able to hold out until July,” he Tranter pleaded.

Tranter told Jenkins he has over around $160,000 and counting thus far.
“And, if you look at the actual statistics and the PPP loans and the eight weeks that you have to use the money, bringing the employees back, I will have to lay off the majority of the employees again, okay, come June. Because we still will not be open,” he added.

“And, there is no way that you can keep a business running and your capital investment and everything. If the money is not there, the money is not there,” Tranter pointed out.

“And so, you are setting yourself up for the double whammy because while you are trying to hold your employee’s hand, you know it’s going to run out,” he concluded. “We need to have the choice and have people come in, you know, to our restaurant to eat.”

New York Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo outlined a set of criteria this week that each region must meet before Phase 1 of its opening plan can begin. The soonest any region could start reopening is May 15, as the state’s stay-at home orders expire on that date. Yet some regions are being held up solely because they lack the testing levels Cuomo is seeking, leaving residents guessing how long it will take to meet that threshold.

“I get the emotion — everybody would like to see everything reopen tomorrow. Me, first and foremost. Everyone. On every level – personally, economically,” Cuomo said during his daily press briefing Friday. “But… we are now in control and we have the virus on the run because we have been smart and because we have been disciplined.”

New York State remains the epicenter of the virus with over 330,000 confirmed cases and over 26,000 deaths. However, New York City lays claim to over half of those cases and has now reported over 21,000 deaths.


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