Bon appetit! Indoor dining could be back in New York City as soon as next week.
In an apparent change of heart, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced today that he would unveil a plan to reinstate indoor dining by the end of this week, according to Eater. Earlier this week, the governor said that loosening Covid restrictions for restaurants was off the table.
“I fully understand how difficult it is for restaurants and for all the people working there,” said Cuomo during the press conference Wednesday. “Because of the density, we are hyper cautious about the situation in New York City.”
Cuomo said that he has been consulting with health officials, Mayor Bill de Blasio and other city officials, and restaurant owners and advocates in preparation for the announcement. As of Jan. 27, the seven-day average positivity rate in the city was 5.4 percent. That’s in contrast to regions where indoor dining is still allowed, such as Long Island, where the positivity rate is 6.8 percent.
If restaurants were to reopen for indoor dining, they would do so at 25 percent capacity.
“We’re happy that Governor Cuomo heard the voice of New York City’s decimated restaurant industry and we look forward to working towards a plan that hopefully reopens indoor dining soon,” Andrew Rigie, executive director of the NYC Hospitality Alliance said in a statement.
Cuomo has been hit with various lawsuits related to the issue. Two lawsuits argued that the ban is unconstitutional, while a separate class-action suit with 70 restaurants named as plaintiffs said that ever-changing dining restrictions violate their civil rights.
Other cities have made similar announcements in the past week. In California, a state-wide stay-at-home order was lifted Monday, clearing the way for outdoor dining to resume in LA. Chicago has also allowed indoor dining to resume at 25 percent capacity as of this week.
[Eater] — Sasha Jones