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NEW YORK — Restaurants in New York City are now allowed to have their highest numbers of customers indoors since the pandemic began.

Eateries in the city are now permitted to be occupied at 50% capacity.  

While that’s a rise from the 35% allowed prior to Friday, restaurant owners are saying it’s still not enough, especially since the rest of New York State is allowed to have restaurant capacities at 75%.
Ricardo Monegro is the general manager of Mama Sushi, a local restaurant chain.

“Every little bit helps,” Monegro said, “but it’s still not enough for us. We’ve been suffering too long.”

He said that his restaurants follow the same Covid safety protocols as restaurants upstate, which are able to take in 25% more indoor dining receipts.

“I think we should be where everywhere else in the state is,” Monegro told PIX11 News.

Meanwhile, the city government has said it’s trying to do all it can to help restaurants cope with the shortfall.  

One initiative is to allow even more outdoor seating, especially as the weather continues to grow more mild.

Mitchell Arias, owner of Papasito Restaurant here, said that a pedestrian plaza in front of his establishment on Dyckman Street is being considered for additional dining space for the row of more than a half-dozen restaurants adjacent to his.  

The expansion of the city’s indoor dining followed suit with New Jersey, which has also announced an increase in its indoor business capacity to 50%. 

Indoor dining at New York City restaurants resumed on Feb. 12 at 25% capacity, nearly two months after Gov. Cuomo shut it down as COVID-19 cases began to rise.

As the city continued to see progress in mitigating the spread of the virus, Cuomo raised the limit to 35% two weeks later.

The rest of New York outside of the city are allowed to increase their indoor dining capacity to 75%

Indoor dining at New York City restaurants resumed on Feb. 12 at 25% capacity, nearly two months after Gov. Cuomo shut it down as COVID-19 cases began to rise.

As the city continued to see progress in mitigating the spread of the virus, Cuomo raised the limit to 35% two weeks later.