New York City restaurants are on a rapid pace to reopening.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Wednesday that restaurants in the city will increase indoor dining capacity to 50 percent starting March 19. Restaurants in New Jersey will similarly reopen at 50 percent capacity the same day.
“In New York State, our decisions are based on science and data and we are encouraged by the continued decline in infection and hospitalization rates,” Cuomo said in a statement.
The move comes nearly a month after indoor dining capacity was upped to 35 percent. A week prior to that, indoor capacity was just 25 percent.
In the rest of New York state, restaurant capacity was upped to 75 percent earlier this week.
Restaurants have been struggling amid capacity restrictions. A recent survey by New York State Restaurant Association found that 27 percent of New York operators said that without financial relief they will “probably” or “definitely” close within three months.
However, with a $1.9 trillion stimulus package set to pass this week, financial relief may be on the way.
President Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan has earmarked $28.6 billion in aid for eateries. Restaurant owners could apply for long-term, low-interest rate loans through a $15 billion Emergency Injury Disaster Loan program. The stimulus also has $7.25 billion set aside for the Paycheck Protection Program, which provides forgivable loans to cover payroll costs.