Cuomo: Restaurants may have to close this week

Indoor dining to be halted if hospitalization rate does not stabilize

Gov. Andrew Cuomo (Getty)
Gov. Andrew Cuomo (Getty)

Restaurants may be forced to shutter once again this week.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is threatening to shut down indoor dining in New York City if after five days the region’s hospital rate has not stabilized.

In other parts of New York, restaurants would be reduced to 25 percent capacity, Cuomo said in a tweet.

“The CDC has targeted indoor dining as a spreader,” Cuomo said at a press briefing Monday, referring to the Centers for Disease Control.

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Andrew Rigie, executive director of the NYC Hospitality Alliance (Photos via Getty; Institute of Culinary Education)
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The closures will be based on region, meaning that if an area is stabilized, then its restaurants will not be forced to halt indoor dining.

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Mayor Bill de Blasio’s decision to close schools, which he began reversing by opening elementary schools Monday, has put further pressure on the mayor and governor to close restaurants, which experts say are riskier environments than schools.

The city’s seven-day rolling average of positive Covid tests is 5 percent, de Blasio said Monday morning. He said the city would stop releasing single-day test results because its random fluctuation makes it less indicative of the virus’s spread.

“The trends we are seeing across all indicators are worrisome,” the city’s health commissioner, Dr. Dave Chokshi, at a press conference Monday.

Sunday, elected officials in New York City released a statement urging Cuomo to designate the entire city an “orange zone,” which would impose stricter Covid restrictions. De Blasio said given the troubling trends, “All options have to be on the table.”

The move would be a crushing blow to restaurants, who have struggled amid the pandemic. About 88 percent of restaurants could not pay full October rent, according to a survey by the NYC Hospitality Alliance released earlier this month.

Other states and cities have made similar decisions. In Los Angeles, stay-at-home order limits retail businesses to 20 percent of indoor capacity and others — including hair and nail salons — must close altogether. Restaurants are limited to take-out.