Indoor dining returns in New York City

Coronavirus
Virus Outbeak New York

FILE — In this Sept. 30, 2020 file photo, tables are spaced allowing for proper social distancing as customers lunch at Katz’s Delicatessen in Manhattan.

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NEW YORK CITY — Indoor dining at New York City restaurants resumes Friday morning, nearly two months after Gov. Andrew Cuomo shut it down as COVID-19 cases began to rise.

Cuomo said on Monday that indoor dining could reopen in the city at 25% capacity, two days before the Valentine’s Day opening he had originally announced.

The governor said restaurateurs had asked for the ban on indoor dining to be lifted in advance of Valentine’s Day in order to give them a chance to prepare for the day when romantic dinners are traditional.

The reopening comes as the state continues to see a downward trend in the number of new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.

Gov. Cuomo also announced Friday that closing times for restaurants and bars will be extended from 10 p.m. to 11 p.m. statewide beginning Sunday, Feb. 14.

“Our decisions are based on science and data and we adjust as the virus adjusts. The infection rate and hospitalizations have continued to significantly decline,” Governor Cuomo said in a statement.

“Accordingly, we have adjusted with arena and catering hall openings with rigorous testing and limited capacity indoor dining openings in New York City. We will also move the restaurant and bar closing hour from 10 p.m. to 11 p.m. statewide on Sunday. We will continue to follow the science and react accordingly. If we keep the infections down and vaccinations up, we will continue to stay ahead in the footrace against this invisible enemy.”

Indoor dining initially resumed in New York City at 25% capacity on Sept. 30, as the city saw progress in slowing the spread of the virus over the summer.

However, due to rising COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in the fall, Cuomo closed indoor dining in the five boroughs on Dec. 14.

Restaurants have primarily been surviving on business from takeout and outdoor dining, however cold weather has deterred many from dining outside.

The financial strain of the restrictions caused many establishments to permanently shutter their doors.

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