New York City restaurants can reopen for indoor dining at 25 percent capacity with restrictions by Sept. 30, Gov. Cuomo announced Wednesday.
“I understand the economic benefit and I understand the economic pressure they’ve been under,” Cuomo said at a midtown press briefing.
The city’s restaurant industry, which employs 300,000 people at 25,000 establishments, has not been allowed to host customers indoors since the coronavirus pandemic hit the five boroughs in March. Cuomo has been hesitant to fully restaurant the industry because of enforcement issues and concerns about COVID-19 outbreaks.
The reopening comes with a host of restrictions– diners must get their temperature checked before entering restaurants, wear a mask inside, and at least one member of each party must provide contact information for contact tracing if there’s an outbreak at the eatery.
There will be no bar service, people must stay six feet apart, closing time is midnight, and restaurants must meet an air filtration requirement, Cuomo added.
Outdoor dining can continue on top of the 25 percent indoor capacity, he said.
A state task force will ensure compliance at 10,000 restaurants along with 400 city code enforcement inspectors. Diners will also be able to report concerns anonymously through a hotline.
“I believe in New Yorkers. Trust is reciprocal. They trusted me, I trust them,” Cuomo said.
“If there is a spike in infection rate, we can always hit the emergency pause button,” he added.
The governor set a Nov. 1 deadline to determine if indoor dining can increase to 50 percent of a restaurant’s capacity.
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