At a time when so many of our beloved neighborhood restaurants are on the verge of losing their place in communities throughout Queens, Borough President candidate Joann Ariola, last week addressed a crowded assembly, taki
ng a strong stance on the vital reopening of restaurants for indoor dining. Below are her remarks.
“My name is Joann Ariola and I’m running for Queens Borough President. I’m not a government bureaucrat. I’m a civic leader, a healthcare professional, a wife, a mother and grandmother.
I’m proud to stand here with you in support of the world-class restaurants we have here in Queens, before they are gone forever.
Our amazing restaurants, like the great Il Bacco and so many others, whose owners invest their life savings and work their fingers to the bone, have long been the envy of the world.
It was already too hard to run a business in NYC BEFORE the pandemic. Now, thanks to Bill de Blasio, it’s impossible.
So, I’m running for office for the same reason that all of you are standing here with me today: Because our city and our borough are in grave danger in every possible way, thanks to the worst leadership in history.
If Bill de Blasio cared as much about your rights as he does about the rights of violent criminals, you would all be fully open for business right now.
You create jobs. You help make NYC the cultural capital of the world. You deserve better.
Radical progressive politicians like Bill de Blasio and Donovan Richards have managed to turn the greatest city in the world into a desolate, blood-soaked shooting gallery in less than a year, where our businesses- especially our restaurants- are destroyed, our children can’t learn and we’re afraid to walk our streets because violent criminals are let right out of jail.
No wonder so many taxpayers are fleeing. With de Blasio’s non-sensical continued ban on indoor dining, his closing of Rikers Island, transplanting those dangerous criminals right into our quiet neighborhoods, and his reckless defunding of our police…the only businesses that can survive in de Blasio’s New York are moving companies and morticians.
Queens is the most diverse county in the world. Many restaurant owners and their employees are minorities and immigrants who came here in search of the American Dream but instead, found de Blasio’s Nightmare.
Bill de Blasio’s cruel indifference to industrious business owners and to the hardworking minorities and immigrants they employ must never be forgotten. Why doesn’t de Blasio care about them?
If you think it’s bad now, just wait. Wait until more of our businesses are forced to permanently close, laying off all their hardworking employees. Where will they live when they can’t pay their rent? Where will their children go?
Wait until property owners can no longer pay their enormous tax bills and have to try to sell buildings that nobody wants to buy. Wait until Rikers is completely emptied out and even more violent criminals terrorize our streets and de Blasio and Richards put a jail or a halfway house for inmates right near your home and your children’s school.
Only new leadership can restore the greatness of this city and this borough.
We are here because we believe that Queens is the most wonderful place in the world- and worth fighting for. I want all our grandchildren to stay here in Queens and I want them to be able to eat in great restaurants like Il Bacco.
We’re standing 500 feet away from the Nassau County border, where some indoor dining is allowed, along with every other part of NYS. Queens patrons can drive a few minutes into Nassau and dine indoors, which makes no sense and is quickly killing Queens restaurants.
The COVID-19 numbers have been consistently very low in NYC. The virus doesn’t care whether it’s in Nassau or Queens, just a few minutes apart.
Mr. Mayor, allow our restaurants to open safe, responsible indoor dining now, like the rest of New York.”
JOANN ARIOLA is a candidate for Queens Borough President