The Latest on Indoor Dining in NYC

Following an announcement by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, there will be an increase in indoor dining capacity in NYC restaurants from 25-35%, as of the 26th of February. The announcement comes after NYC indoor dining made incredible returns. Cuomo says the reason behind reopening and increasing indoor dining capacity is hospitalization and decreasing COVID-19 cases.

NYC restaurant owners have been urging the federal government to increase indoor dining capacity to 50%. But the fact that the city has a dense population and it was the epicenter of COVID-19 in March 2020, Gov. Andrew Cuomo says, are the reasons they are acting deliberately in the city. Even so, the increased capacity is what restaurant owners can manage after the first federal-authorized bar and restaurant shut down in March 2020. Several restaurants have been calling upon restaurant reopening, pointing out that rising establishment rent and lack of state support increase fear of permanent closure soon if businesses do not elevate.

As coronavirus statistics are trending downwards and positivity rates standing at eight percent compared to summer’s positivity rates that were soaring at one percent, bars and restaurants were limited to outdoor dining. The cases are also low, but the city is recording an average of over 3000 cases daily. Health experts say reopening restaurants and increasing their indoor dining capacity is risky and one way of spreading the virus. The recent nationwide mix reopening and existence of new COVID-19 variant is warming up the prickle of coronavirus.

During the reopening of indoor dining, Cuomo cited the importance of weighing public health uncertainties and business interests. He says there is a great need to reopen restaurants and increase their indoor dining capacity. His decision comes after numerous New Yorkers receive the vaccination, even though restaurants’ working staff are not yet vaccinated and those who have received it are still on their first dose. While restaurant workers and owners are anxious about the reopening, some owners and workers express their concern about a more significant number yet to receive the vaccination.

When indoor dining capacity in NYC starts at 35%, it will be joining New Jersey that announced the reopening of its indoor dining at the same rate in early February. Cuomo recently pushed restaurant curfew from 10 pm to 11 pm even though some organizations want it at midnight.