After weeks of turmoil and rising Covid-19 cases, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced today that indoor dining will once again shut down across New York City starting Monday.
Cuomo previously announced that he was contemplating the decision due to rising hospitalization rates. The number of people hospitalized for Covid-19 increased to 5,321 as of Dec. 10, a huge jump from 1,540 hospitalizations one month earlier.
“We have said from day one that for us this is a constant calibration,” Cuomo said during a Friday press conference. “We want as much economic activity as possible.”
Indoor dining will close in New York City starting Monday.
Hospitalizations have not stabilized, and with a rising infection rate and NYC’s density, this means that indoor dining is too high of a risk.
Takeout, delivery and outdoor dining will continue.
— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) December 11, 2020
Restaurants in the city began offering indoor dining again on Sept. 30, after largely closing down in the spring. Under the new restrictions, they will still be able to offer takeout and delivery. Outdoor dining won’t be affected for now.
Cuomo also released a breakdown of where positive coronavirus cases are originating. Seventy-four percent of cases were driven by household gatherings — which are currently limited to 10 people or less — while 1.43 percent came from restaurants and bars and .61 percent originated from stores.
Gyms and salons, however, can still operate in orange zones at 25 percent capacity. The move comes as data shows that gyms result in only .06 percent of cases.
Mayor Bill de Blasio expressed support for Cuomo’s decision in a Tweet, calling the closures “painful,” but noting that “we can’t allow this virus to reassert itself in our city.”
Pressure has been mounting on the Governor to make such a move ever since schools were shut down in November, though schools have since partially reopened. In a statement released earlier this week, four elected officials called on Cuomo to end indoor dining and close nonessential offices.
The move is a crushing blow to restaurants who have been struggling to survive under limited capacity indoors and cold weather outdoors.
Even with indoor dining, a record high 88 percent of restaurants could not pay full October rent, according to a recent survey by the New York City Hospitality Alliance.
The New York State Restaurant Association also found that 54 percent of New York restaurants said they would likely not survive the next six months without federal relief, compared to 37 percent of restaurants nationwide.
The latter group sent a letter to Cuomo urging him to put pressure on the federal government for financial assistance for restaurants. The RESTAURANTS Act, which would provide such aid, was introduced in June, but there’s been little progress since. Congress is still hashing out a larger Covid-19 relief bill.