Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced on Wednesday that the indoor eating ban in New York City would be lifted on September 30th, which would help the city recover from the pandemic that has made its status as one of the few places in the nation would end with a total ban.
The governor’s announcement that would allow restaurants to open tables to 25 percent capacity could mark a major milestone in the coronavirus crisis in New York City, where restaurants are a crucial part of the city’s economy and its currently dying tourism make up an integral part of its normally living social fabric.
“Because compliance is better, we can now take the next step,” said the governor.
Mr Cuomo said restaurants will be allowed to use a quarter of their indoor tables from the end of the month, three weeks away, when the fall weather is likely to make the outdoor tables cold. Additional restrictions would also be placed on restaurants and their guests, including the requirement to wear face coverings when they are not seated.
Over the past few weeks when the state cracked down on bars violating social distancing rules, Mr Cuomo said he was concerned about enforcement in restaurants and put a duty on Mr de Blasio to find a way to ensure compliance to check.
Mr Cuomo, a third-term Democrat, closed dining rooms across the country in March as coronavirus increased in the state, even though delivery and take-out food was still available.
Even when other parts of the state reopened their dining rooms in late spring, the city’s indoor tables remained closed, although many restaurants made wild and in some cases successful interventions in sidewalk service.
Even with the September 30 reopening plan, restrictions in New York City will be even tighter than other parts of the state where restaurants operate with half their indoor tables.