After a major tug-of-war between restaurateurs and the municipality, where politicians were willing to side with New York eateries in suing the Mayor and Governor, it has finally been announced that indoor eating will be allowed in the city at a 25% capacity, on September 30th.
A sigh of relief was heaved by several restaurant owners across the city as Gov. Cuomo announced for indoor dining to resume in New York City by the end of the month, on Wednesday. Seeing light at the end of the tunnel for the first time since March, restaurateurs were peeved about the continued closures, despite gyms, malls, and casinos being reopened in the past few weeks.
Restaurants in the five boroughs can reopen their doors and welcome patrons back to their dining rooms on Sept. 30 — with stringent coronavirus precautions in place. As per the new guidelines, the capacity will be limited to 25%, tables must be placed six feet apart and temperature checks of all patrons will be mandatory. The Gov. also mentioned in the media briefing, that there will be no walk-up bar service, customers will be required to leave contact information and eateries must be closed by midnight.
Addressing the dire straits of restaurant owners and staff across the city, Cuomo said, “Opening restaurants, I understand the economic benefit and I understand the economic pressure they’ve been under.”
The governor, who was recently under fire for his hesitation to allow restaurants to seat diners indoors, dodged a 2 billion dollar class-action lawsuit in declaring this prospect. As spoken at the briefing, Cuomo has decreed Nov. 1 deadline to reassess the COVID-19 infection rate. If the number remains low, indoor dining capacity could increase to 50%.
In a bid to ensure that the coronavirus transmission doesn’t flare up due to the reopening, Cuomo said the city will contribute 400 personnel to an existing task force headed by the State Liquor Authority and state police to ensure compliance with the new orders. In addition to this, Cuomo also stated that the enforcement of these mandates will in part depend on diners who can report non-compliance anonymously through a hotline. He said, “New Yorkers themselves will help with compliance. New Yorkers will keep New Yorkers safe.”