New York City restaurants can re-open for indoor dining, beginning Sept. 30, at 25% capacity, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced in a press conference Wednesday.
Indoor dining has been shuttered since March, thanks to the coronavirus pandemic. Restaurants have had to survive on pick-ups, deliveries and serving outdoors during the warm months. Many establishments have suffered, with some closing for good.
The city began reopening its economy in June, and indoor dining was one of the last activities in line for approval.
“We have seen clusters outbreak from restaurants, so that was the reason for caution,” Cuomo said at the press conference. “We’ve been working on this issue every day.”
He pointed out the dilemma with indoor dining. “There’s a whole industry around restaurants, and restaurants also pose a possible risk,” Cuomo said, according to The Wall Street Journal. “But there’s also a great economic loss when they don’t operate.”
Restaurants that open their indoor dining facilities must take diners’ temperatures at the door, make customers wear masks and enforce social distancing.
While indoor dining services have opened in other parts of the state, Cuomo held back on New York City, complaining that city officials weren’t enforcing social distancing rules where there was outdoor dining.
A restaurant association will pay for public-service advertisements urging New Yorkers to report social-distancing violations, The Journal reported.
New York state casinos, meanwhile, were allowed to reopen at 25% of capacity, and New York City malls at 50% of capacity.