New York City restaurants can increase their indoor dining capacity to 50 percent next week, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Wednesday.
The measure rolling back some of the coronavirus safety restrictions goes into effect on March 19, Cuomo said.
Indoor dining at Big Apple restaurants officially reopened at 25 percent capacity on Feb. 12 after Cuomo yet again shuttered indoor business at city eateries in mid-December. That was boosted to 35 percent late last month — but struggling city eateries had been pleading with officials to go to 50 percent.
Seating capacity indoors was boosted to 35 percent late last month — but struggling city eateries had been pleading with officials to go to 50 percent.
New York restaurants outside of the Big Apple were already set to expand indoor dining capacity from 50 percent to 75 percent on March 19.
The governor made the announcement Wednesday in a joint statement with New Jersey, which will also ramp up indoor dining from 35 percent capacity to 50 percent beginning March 19
“In New York State, our decisions are based on science and data and we are encouraged by the continued decline in [COVID-19] infection and hospitalization rates,” Cuomo said in a statement Wednesday alongside NJ Gov. Phil Murphy.
“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 and reach the light at the end of the tunnel together.”
Andrew Rigie, the head of the NYC Hospitality Alliance, cheered the announcement.
“While city restaurants may not increase occupancy to 75 percent like restaurants are safely doing throughout the rest of the state, it is still welcome news to the battered restaurant industry,” he said.
“Cautiously and safely increasing indoor dining capacity at New York City restaurants to 50 percent, with an eye toward expanding in the future, more vaccinations, and dedicated restaurant relief on its way from the federal government gives our industry some optimism among all the doom and gloom of this past year.”
The indoor dining capacity increases are part of both New York and New Jersey’s efforts “to jump start their post-COVID recovery and reinvigorate the economy,” a release put out by Cuomo and Murphy said.
Since indoor dining in New York City was reopened on Feb. 12, “two COVID-19 incubation periods have passed without any significant rise in infection and hospitalization rates,” the release noted.
New Jersey last expanded indoor dining capacity on Feb. 5 and during that time, “the number of hospitalizations in the state has dropped by over 1,000 and has remained consistent.”
Additional reporting by Bernadette Hogan