Indoor dining in New York City can resume with a 25% capacity limit on September 30, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Wednesday during a press conference. The city’s restaurants have been limited to only take-out and delivery since March due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The decision to allow indoor dining carries restrictions for both customers and restaurants, according to a press release from Cuomo’s office.
All patrons are required to have their temperature checked at the door, one person in each party must provide the establishment with their contact information in case tracing is needed and masks must be worn when not seated at a table.
All tables must be at least six feet apart. Bars are only permitted to be used as service bars, meaning people will not be allowed to sit at them. They can only be utilized as a “source of making drinks” to be served at tables, according to the release. Restaurants must also “allow for outside air ventilation,” and “should operate with enhanced air filtration, ventilation and purification standards.”
All restaurants must close at midnight.
“I want to thank New Yorkers for their hard work to increase compliance, and we can now take the next step in reopening our restaurants,” Cuomo said.
“This is good news and the right step forward, especially for restaurant owners and staff who have been struggling through this time. But it is up to all of us to ensure compliance and the health and safety of those around us,” the governor added.
UPDATE: On September 30, indoor dining in NYC can resume at 25% capacity.
Strict restrictions will be in place. pic.twitter.com/ORzwGM67PQ
— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) September 9, 2020
The guidelines will be reassessed by November 1. Restaurants could be allowed to increase to 50% capacity if the infection rate doesn’t increase, the release states.
Cuomo said the city will allocate a team of 400 to work with the State Police Task Force to make sure all guidelines are adhered to.
New York City moved to phase three of reopening in July, but the resumption of indoor dining was delayed at the time as cases surged throughout the country, especially in places that had already resumed indoor dining. Cuomo also said at the time that citizen compliance with measures to protect against the disease, such as wearing masks, were slipping. Local government was also not enforcing compliance “to a sufficient basis,” he added.
The city entered the fourth and final phase of reopening on July 20.
New York state has had 440,578 confirmed cases of the coronavirus, resulting in 33,016 deaths since the pandemic began, according to numbers from a tally by Johns Hopkins University. The state has made an impressive turnaround from early on in the pandemic, when it was the biggest hot spot in the nation. At the peak in early April, the state was reporting nearly 800 COVID-19 deaths each day.
There were 576 new reported positive cases of COVID-19 in New York on Tuesday and a total of 463 people hospitalized with the virus, Cuomo announced on Wednesday. Three people died in the state Tuesday due to the coronavirus.