Struggling catering hall owners push for 50% capacity for events

Torri Donley

News 12 Staff Oct 02, 2020, 6:01pm EDT Updated on:Oct 02, 2020, 6:01pm EDT 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 […]

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.

“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.”

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