Is Gov. Andrew Cuomo trying to kill New York’s economy for good? That’s the only possible explanation for crazy state rules that ban shoppers from COVID-19-responsible stores — even by appointment and after dramatic drops in hospitalizations.
As The Post’s Lisa Fickenscher reported Thursday, desperate furniture showrooms like Ethan Allen and Raymour & Flanigan are letting customers browse and meet with salespeople in select regions for limited periods at prearranged times.
An Ethan Allen employee notes that only two customers are allowed in at a time and must be from the same family. And Raymour & Flanagan, sources say, has ordered hand sanitizers, hired an outside cleaning firm and has someone spraying Lysol and wiping surfaces throughout the day.
If shoppers and staff wear masks and social distance, why shouldn’t stores be able to conduct business this way? The risk of spreading COVID-19 seems minuscule — and besides, the curve flattened weeks ago, with cases down 90 percent from the peak.
Yet state officials claim these outlets violate Cuomo’s COVID-19-related executive orders — and are threatening consequences.
“If a furniture store’s showroom is open to the public, they are violating New York’s public-health-based executive orders,” huffs Cuomo aide Jack Sterne. “Authorities,” he adds, will “pursue formal enforcement measures if necessary, including fines” of up to $10,000. Stores can also be closed and have their licenses suspended.
That’s downright nuts. Especially since stores that also sell furniture, like Walmart and Target, can stay open because they sell “essential” items like food.
These furniture companies, like many other businesses, are fighting for their lives. And the prolonged lockdown is threatening to crater the entire New York economy. If Cuomo doesn’t lift restrictions faster, expect more businesses to rebel.