COVID NYC Update: Indoor Dining Room Returns to 25% Capacity, Closing Time Restrictions Relaxed

NEW YORK – Gov. Andrew Cuomo further relaxed coronavirus restrictions on restaurants across the state on Friday as parts of New York City reported increases in new cases.

The Democratic governor said Friday that restaurants and bars will now be able to stay open until 11 p.m. starting Sunday. The state’s restaurant industry has pushed to loosen the previous limit, which was at 10 p.m.

“Loosening the curfew will allow operators to comfortably seat guests at 9 pm, which will bring in business that had previously been cut off,” said Melissa Fleischut, president and CEO of the New York State Restaurant Association, it’s a statement.

The announcement follows one earlier this week that said New York City restaurants could reopen the indoor dining room to 25% capacity starting Friday to accompany the existing outdoor dining area. Indoor meals had been banned since mid-December when COVID-19 cases began to rise.

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Cuomo had said that industry groups representing restaurateurs had called for the ban on eating indoors to be lifted in February to allow them to charge on Valentine’s Day. It has also allowed New York City and counties across the state to vaccinate restaurant workers, though many county executives say they lack the supplies.

“If we reduce infections and increase vaccines, we will continue to lead the race on foot against this invisible enemy,” Cuomo said.

While loosening restrictions is a step in the right direction for many bars and restaurants, some wonder if it is too little too late.

“Currently we are allowed to have 18.5 people inside and that is not going to pay the rent, it is not going to pay for electricity and it is not going to pay for staff,” said bar and restaurant owner Lauren Brie Lynch.

As restrictions on eating in New York City eased on Friday, parts of the city are seeing signs of spikes: The Bronx, Queens and Staten Island have together averaged about 2,580 new cases each day for the seven days through Thursday. That’s 16% more than in the previous seven days.

Cuomo announced this week that large indoor and outdoor arenas and arenas can be reopened at 10% of capacity, despite concerns from public health experts about the safety of large indoor gatherings where people can speak out loud. and eat. He said the state will allow weddings of up to 150 guests with COVID-19 testing by March 15, although counties and wedding venues are still awaiting state guidance.

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Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Saturday that the state’s daily COVID positivity rate dropped to 3.46%, the lowest since Nov.25. The state’s 7-day average positivity rate also fell to 3.90%, marking the first time the rate has fallen below 4% since November. 30.

Additionally, the state also reported a drop in hospitalizations to 6,888. Sadly, 125 deaths were reported.

State health officials said New York has seen an overall drop in cases since a peak in mid-January, but warn that COVID-19 is still widespread. More than half a million people have tested positive so far this year in New York, while hospitals and nursing homes have reported that nearly 6,700 people have died.

“I think people don’t necessarily understand how much COVID we were seeing in the fall and winter of last year, and how bad we still are,” Byron Backenson, Acting Director of the New York State Department of Health Office of Communicable Diseases . he said Thursday in an online discussion with state health care providers.

New York now has the second highest number of new COVID-19 cases per capita in the past seven days in the nation, behind only South Carolina, according to data compiled by The Associated Press.

And while much of the nation is experiencing double-digit drops in new COVID-19 cases, New York is among the 12 states where the seven-day average of new cases is virtually flat compared to seven days ago, according to the COVID Tracking Project.

Cuomo has emphasized that New York’s figures reflect that it performs more tests than any other state. New York has reported the fifth highest level of test results per 100,000 residents, according to AP data, and the second highest number of test results after California.

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