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NYC authorizes indoor dining in restaurants with a capacity of 25%



Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced Wednesday that the ban on indoor dining in New York City would be lifted on Sept. 30, a spur to the city’s recovery from the pandemic that would end its status as one of the few places in the nation with a total ban.

The governor’s announcement that it would allow restaurants to open indoor tables with 25% capacity could be a milestone in the coronavirus crisis in New York City, where restaurants form a key part of the city’s economy and the its currently dying tourist trade, and are a vital part of its usually vibrant social fabric.

The announcement came more than two months after Governor and Mayor Bill de Blasio halted a plan to reopen indoor dining in restaurants, citing continuing concerns about the coronavirus, which has killed more than 30,000 people in New York. But the infection rate in the state was kept below 1% for several weeks in a row, allowing some restrictions to be eased.

“As compliance is better, we can now take the next step,” the governor said.

Mr. Cuomo said restaurants will be allowed to use a quarter of their indoor tables starting at the end of the month, still three weeks away, and around when autumn weather is likely to put a chill on outdoor tables. ‘open. Additional restrictions would be placed on restaurants and their customers, including the requirement to wear face coverings when not seated.

In recent weeks, as the state cracked down on bars that violated social distancing rules, Mr. Cuomo said he was concerned about enforcement in restaurants, putting Mr. De Blasio on the burden of finding a way to verify compliance.

Mr. Cuomo, a third-term Democrat, closed statewide dining halls in March as coronavirus surged in the state, although delivery and takeout were still available.

However, even as other parts of the state reopened their dining rooms in late spring, the city’s indoor tables remained closed, although many restaurants made a splash and in some cases forays into sidewalk service have been successful.

Even with the September 30 reopening plan, restrictions in New York City will be even stricter than in other parts of the state, where restaurants operate with half of their indoor tables in use.


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