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Brooklyn Kosher Café Cited for Keeping Doors Open

Aaron Bandler is an investigative journalist for the Jewish Journal. Originally from the Bay Area, his past work experience includes writing for The Daily Wire, The Daily Caller and Townhall.

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Aaron Bandler
Aaron Bandler is an investigative journalist for the Jewish Journal. Originally from the Bay Area, his past work experience includes writing for The Daily Wire, The Daily Caller and Townhall.

A kosher café in Brooklyn was cited on October 20 for keeping its doors open.

In a video that has gone viral on social media, the owner of the Mixed Greens Kosher Café can be seen arguing with a city inspector about being given a summons.

“There’s nobody sitting in the restaurant,” the owner, who was recording the video, said. “Everything is okay. You’re giving me a ticket because my doors are open? What if my store is hot? I’m not allowed to open the door because the store is hot?”

The owner then decried the summons as unfair.

“I’m struggling here every single day,” the owner said. “It’s hard for me. And there was nobody inside the store obviously because we don’t have dine-in. We only have take-out. There was nobody in the store, and I’m only getting a ticket because my doors are open.”

The inspector then replied, “In a red zone, you’re only supposed to do pickup and delivery at the door.”

Areas are the in red zone are subjected to the toughest COVID-19 restrictions under Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo’s metric system.

The Orthodox Jewish news site Vos Iz Neias reported that the undercover inspector had walked into the café and asked the owner, identified as Mike, if he could sit down and eat. Mike told him that the café wasn’t open for dine-in, and then the alleged inspector issued the summons for a January court date.

New York City Councilman Chaim Deutsch told Vos Iz Neias that he looked at a copy of the summons, and it stated that the café was cited for not keeping “the door closed for pedestrian traffic.” Deutsch said he asked Mayor Bill de Blasio and the city’s Department of Health; the Department of Health said they would review the regulations and get back to him. Since then, neither the department nor de Blasio have gotten back to him.

“It is unconscionable that the city and state are continuing to harass small business owners, already struggling to survive due to the COVID shutdowns,” Deutsch said. “Thousands of businesses have been forced to permanently shut their doors, and many others are on the brink. Instead of the local government directing resources to support these businesses, they are instead pursuing bogus violations and petty fines against them. Shameful and despicable behavior from local agencies.”

A spokesperson for city’s Department of Health said he would get back to the Journal on the matter; de Blasio’s office did not respond to the Journal’s requests for comment.

Deutsch tweeted out Mike’s video of the inspector issuing the summons and urged people to support the café.

 

City Councilman Kalman Yeger tweeted, “This is the harassment being inflicted on the law-abiding businesses in our community by the mayor and governor. There are hundreds of stories exactly like this.”

On October 20, de Blasio issued an apology for how the city has dealt with rising COVID-19 cases in Orthodox Jewish communities in the city, acknowledging that “more dialogue would have been better.”

Larry the Cable Guy, born Daniel Lawrence Whitney, also weighed in.

“Man this is ridiculous,” he tweeted. “Our elected officials are outa [sic] control.”

Deutch later tweeted that the café “has been fielding hundreds of calls from supporters across the USA. It’s heartwarming to see how Americans have banded together to offer kindness.”

UPDATE 1: A spokesperson for the Department of Health told the Journal that the man who gave the citation to Mike was not an inspector and referred the Journal to de Blasio’s office. De Blasio’s office did not respond to the Journal’s request for comment.

UPDATE 2: According to City Hall, the citation has been rescinded. Per state regulations, red zones allow bars and restaurants to continue takeout and delivery services.

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