NYC reopening: Indoor dining expands to 75% capacity May 7; gyms increase capacity May 15

Coronavirus
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NEW YORK — Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced New York City can expand its indoor dining capacity to 75% beginning May 7.

Cuomo made the announcement Friday, bringing the city’s indoor dining capacity in line with the rest of the state.

Hair salons, barber shops and other personal care businesses can also expand to 75% capacity the same day. 

New York City’s gyms and fitness centers will be able to expand to 50% capacity the week after, beginning May 15.

All changes are subject to state public health guidance including social distancing and masks.

“After a long and incredibly difficult fight, New York State is winning the war against COVID-19, and that means it’s time to loosen some restrictions put in place to protect the public health and help our local businesses,” Cuomo said. “There’s no doubt that restaurants have been among the pandemic’s hardest hit businesses, and New York City’s thriving restaurant industry has found it challenging to keep staff and maintain profits. We’re easing restrictions on restaurants, personal care services and gyms to put more money in the pockets of small business owners and working people in New York City, which was hit so hard by the pandemic but, I have no doubt, will come back stronger than ever.”

The announcement comes as the state continues to loosen it’s coronavirus restrictions.

Earlier this week, the governor announcement that a midnight curfew on bars and restaurants in the state will be lifted on a staggered schedule. 

The curfew on outdoor dining will end on May 17, but bars and restaurants will have to wait until May 31 to allow diners to stay indoors past midnight, according to the governor.

Additionally, the 1 a.m. curfew for catered events at venues where attendees have either provided proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test will lift on May 17. The curfew will be completely lifted for all catered events on May 31.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio also said he anticipates the city to “fully reopen” on July 1, having the city fully reopen at 100%. While the governor said he is reluctant to make projections, he is optimistic New York City will be fully reopened before July.

“NYC’s hospitality industry has been decimated by the pandemic, and while there’s still a long road to recovery, this week’s announcements on easing restaurant and bar restrictions, applications opening to apply for the Restaurant Revitalization Fund, and the major news that NYC will “reopen” in the coming months provides a shot of cautious optimism after an extraordinarily trying 13+ months. These important accomplishments are made possible by members’ support of the NYC Hospitality Alliance, and the partnership of so many. We will keep fighting for the future of our city’s restaurant and nightlife industry,” New York City Hospitality Alliance said in a statement.

Restaurants and bars in the state have been struggling to stay afloat for more than a year because of strict health and safety restrictions put in place during the COVID-19 pandemic.

A survey released by the NYC Hospitality Alliance in September 2020 found nearly 9 in 10 restaurants, bars and nightlife venues in the city could not pay full rent in August.

Many restaurant owners in New York City have shuttered their doors for good, while others have tried to make due with limited outdoor seating space and indoor capacity limits.

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