NEW YORK — Indoor dining resumes in New York City Friday, nearly two months after Gov. Andrew Cuomo shut it down as COVID-19 cases began to rise.
This was the second shutdown. The first occurred when the pandemic first began in March.
Katie Allman is anxiously awaiting the return of indoor dining, while busy putting safety protocols into place.
“We are extremely excited,” said Allman. “The fact that in other places in the state have been opened and we are the ones who were shut down was a huge slap in the face for us.”
Allman is the head bartender at Taproom 307, known for their craft beers and truffle fries.
“I feel like we’ve been really been scapegoated a lot,” said Allman. “Living rooms are the reason for the spread and when you close restaurants, where do people go? Into the living rooms.”
The financial strain caused many establishments to permanently shutter their doors.
Famous Restaurant Row in Midtown looks more like a ghost town on the eve of indoor dining resuming. Cuomo set the maximum capacity for indoor dining at 25 %. It is a much needed lifeline for the once booming industry in New York City.
Restaurants have been surviving on business from takeout and outdoor dining.
Some New Yorkers have been braving the frigid winter weather for a bite to eat. Bar and restaurant owners and staffers are hoping they’ll feel comfortable enough to venture indoors again.
“I think us wearing masks all the time makes them feel safer, us wearing gloves and them being able to see we’re taking protocols seriously is the way to make them feel safe,” said Allman.
Cuomo had initially timed the resumption of indoor dining to start on Valentine’s Day, but owners urged the Governor to allow it to start the Friday before, to maximize the full weekend