NEW YORK — The tables have been waiting inside New York City restaurants.
At his news briefing on Wednesday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the state is reviewing heath reports and he will have an announcement about indoor dining this week.
“I fully understand how difficult it is that they’re closed. Not just for the restaurants, but all the people who are employed there. On the flip side is how fast this virus could take off,” he said.
The state is looking into returning to the 25% indoor capacity and how and when it can be done, Cuomo said.
At East Harlem Bottling Company on Lexington Avenue at East 107th Street, owner Leo Lauer said he appreciates the loyal customers who’ve stuck with them through the pandemic.
“Into February without inside dining would be a crush,” he said.
There has been a drop in coronavirus positivity rates in counties across the state and, because of it, Cuomo removed orange zones in the state.
“Given the progress they made, the restrictions are lifted in those zones,” he said.
The remaining yellow zones are in the areas of Washington Heights, Queens, Newburgh and two locations in the Bronx, Cuomo said.
“The holiday surge is over,” he declared, adding hospitals never became overwhelmed despite a spike in cases and patients.
The governor said officials are hyper cautious in New York City due to density and crowding.
The New York State Restaurant Association applauded the decision.
“We thank Governor Cuomo for listening to the calls of restaurant operators and easing restrictions on our industry,” the group said in a statement. “New York must continue to take steps towards reopening the economy, and the restaurant industry will do our part to keep our diners and our employees safe. We appeal once again to the governor to consider extending the curfew to midnight so that our restaurants are able to have that last turn of diners, which is of vital economic importance to so many of the state’s restaurants. We look forward to our continued discussions with the governor and his staff about how we can make this work together.”
Several lawsuits have asked courts to allow dining inside NYC locations.
Governor Cuomo pointed out that state revenues also depend on healthy industries.