At a press conference Thursday New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced he would allow indoor dining in New York City to return at 25 percent capacity. The governor’s 180 degree turnaround comes just a day after a press conference on Wednesday, Sept. 9 during which he said he was hesitant to open indoor restaurant dining in the city due to the possibility of COVID-19 spikes.
Under the reopening protocols, diners must wear masks when not at table and must be spaced six feet or more away. They must have their temperature checked and one person in the party must give contact details for tracing. Bars will remain closed.
The governor said that an increase to 50 percent capacity may be in the offing if cases in New York City remain under 1 percent (they are currently at 0.9).
Mayor Bill de Blasio, who was not at the governor’s press briefing, said at his own press conference that he had wanted a later opening date and assurances that establishments would close immediately if rates went up, stating that he was the person who believed the city needed to be “cautious and conservative.”
New York City restaurants have sued the state and city to force indoor dining to open as summer months waned and limitations on outdoor dining options loom. Some studies have predicted up to 60 percent of US restaurants will close for good due to COVID-19.
In other news, Governor Cuomo took to Twitter on Thursday to warn that riders who try to use New York City’s MTA without masks now face $50.00 fines.