NYC indoor dining to resume on Sept. 30 at 25% capacity, Gov. Cuomo says

Coronavirus
Indoor dining

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NEW YORK — Indoor dining in New York City can resume on Sept. 30 at 25% capacity with strict restrictions, Gov. Cuomo announced Wednesday.

The governor acknowledged there is “a whole industry around restaurants,” and although indoor dining can pose a risk, there is a “great economic loss when they don’t operate.”

Proper protocol and strict rules will be enforced as indoor dining resumes:

  • Temperature checks will be required at the door for all customers
  • One member of each party will be required to provide contact information for tracing, if needed
  • No bar service: Bars will only be used as service bars (source of making drinks at serving them tableside)
  • Restaurants to close at midnight
  • Space tables six feet apart
  • Strict adherence to all state-issued guidance
  • Restaurants should operate with enhanced air filtration, ventilation and purification standards
  • Limit air recirculation and allow for air ventilation
  • Outdoor dining will continue as interim
  • Each restaurant must publicly post their 25% indoor dining capacity

The governor also set a Nov. 1 deadline to reassess infection rates and consider increasing indoor restaurant capacity to 50%.

The State Liquor Authority will expand its SLA Police Task Force and NYC will provide about 400 code enforcement inspectors to work with the task force.

In addition to monitoring compliance in the city, Gov. Cuomo said “New Yorkers themselves will help with compliance. New Yorkers will help keep New Yorkers safe.”

The Restaurant Association and New York State will run public service announcements asking New Yorkers to report if an eatery violates the 25% capacity, Cuomo said.

Anyone who observes violations should report compliance issues by calling 833-208-4160 or text “VIOLATION” to 855-904-5036. For more information, click here.

The announcement comes just hours after Mayor Bill de Blasio said progress was being made in reopening indoor dining.

Mayor de Blasio previously said indoor dining may not return in the city until next year as he pointed to indoor dining and drinking at bars as a source of coronavirus cases around the world, but he promised more clarity by the end of September.

Following the announcement, Mayor de Blasio released a statement that said they had achieved a plan that would put the health and safety of New Yorkers first.

“We are continuing New York City’s economic recovery by bringing back indoor dining. Working with the state and public health officials, we’ve achieved a plan that puts health and safety first by including strict capacity limits, a close monitoring of citywide positive testing rates and a coordinated inspection regimen. Science will guide our decision-making as we continue to monitor progress and health care indicators over the next three weeks to ensure a safe reopening. This may not look like the indoor dining that we all know and love, but it is progress for restaurant workers and all New Yorkers,” de Blasio said in a statement.

If New York City hits a 2% COVID-19 positivity rate, the city will immediately reassess indoor dining, the mayor also said.

Gov. Cuomo previously expressed concern on resuming indoor dining at New York City restaurants. He blamed the mayor for a lack of compliance to social distancing guidelines in the city.

New York City has become the last area in the state to hold off on allowing indoor dining in some capacity, even as neighboring areas on Long Island and in Westchester have had the option since late June.

Restaurants in the city were greatly impacted as the pandemic struck the region in March. Many eateries were forced to close, while others stayed open for delivery and pick up. Outdoor dining became an option for many restaurants as the city entered Phase 2 of reopening in June.

Mayor de Blasio has since extended the city’s Open Restaurants program through Oct. 31.

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