In the third and final televised debate between President Trump and Democratic candidate Joe Biden, the President claimed that New York’s restaurants are “dying” and also described the city as a “ghost town” because of the coronavirus restrictions.
Restaurants are currently limited to an indoor dining capacity of just 25%, and the President has been a vocal critic of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s cautious approach to reopening businesses in the city.
Biden called for more financial resources to be made available to restaurants to allow them to adapt to a pandemic with the installation of safety measures such as plexiglass barriers between tables.
President Trump responded by saying that restaurants were “dying” and that they shouldn’t have to. “If you go and look at what has happened to New York, it’s a ghost town. Take a look at what’s happening to New York. It’s dying,” Trump said at the second and final presidential debate in Nashville, Tenn. — accusing Democratic nominee Joe Biden of devastating businesses through strict lockdowns.
“When you talk about plexiglass, these are restaurants that are dying. These are businesses with no money. Putting up plexiglass is unbelievably expensive and it’s not the answer. I mean, you’re going to sit there in a cubicle wrapped in plastic? These are businesses that are dying, Joe, you can’t do that to people,” he said, also lashing out at Gov. Andrew Cuomo over the city’s harsh lockdowns.
“Take a look at New York and what’s happened to my wonderful city. For so many years, I loved it, it was vibrant. It’s dying, everyone’s leaving New York,” he said.
New Yorkers took to Twitter to refute President Trump’s claims that New York is a “ghost town,” with many praising the restaurants and restaurant workers’ resilience in getting through the crisis, staying open, and indeed contributing to help those in need in their local communities.
The President’s handling of the coronavirus crisis was the main talking point in the debate, which was the final head-to-head between the two before the American people take to the polls on 3 November.
While Democrats and Republicans bring their campaigns to a climax, the parties remain deadlocked on further stimulus talks. Last week, speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, provided a positive outlook on discussions over a US stimulus bill, saying: “We continue to be engaged in negotiations, and I am hopeful we will be able to reach an agreement.”
Her comment came after President Trump claimed on Twitter that he did not “see any way” that Democrats would “do what is right for our great American workers, or our wonderful USA itself, on stimulus”.
The hospitality sector is the second biggest employer in the US, after the State itself, and the plight of the industry’s workers is an issue that could in itself have the weight to decide the election result.