Crowds of people drinking and dining on the sidewalks of Astoria are drawing ire for flouting social distancing rules and forgoing masks.
The city's 311 hotline received dozens of complaints Friday and Saturday in the two ZIP codes that cover the main commercial drags of 30th Avenue and Broadway, a Patch data analysis found.
The Grand, at 37-01 30th Ave., was the subject of seven complaints Friday of loud music and customers not social distancing.
George Ballis, owner of The Grand, said he's tried asking the crowds to disperse — but that he gets a profanity-laced earful in return.
"I beg them like, guys, please, I don't want to get in trouble," Ballis said. "I understand that the local residents are upset, and I hear their frustration."
Ballis said he's doing the most he can: He cleans and disinfects the restaurant weekly, makes his employees wear masks and has his bouncers try to get people moving.
"There's nothing that I can do to somebody when they're on a New York City sidewalk," he said. "All I can do is protect my staff."
Across the street from The Grand, partiers outside Blend Astoria racked up eight complaints Friday and Saturday of loud music and a lack of social distancing and face coverings. (Calls to Blend were twice put on hold indefinitely.)
Another three complaints listed 30th Avenue in general, where videos posted on social media showed crowds of maskless partiers on the sidewalk.
"People seem to forget we're in the middle of a pandemic," City Council Member Costa Constantinides said in a statement Sunday. "While I understand the need for people to get out and our small businesses to reopen, we all have a civic duty to continue to practice social distancing, wear a mask and keep others safe. Our healthcare system cannot take another shock from this virus."
This story was posted on June 14 2020 by Maya Kaufman.
Which was a week before Phase 2 that permitted restaurants to serve on tables outside.