Cuomo Announces Return of Indoor Dining at Restaurants

A poster taped on a barrier near the Atlantic Diner in Richmond Hill's outdoor dining area the day before Gov. Cuomo announced indoor dining could resume in NYC. (Photo by Clarissa Sosin)

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced indoor dining in New York City will be allowed to resume beginning September 30 with a 25 percent occupancy limit.

All restaurants that choose to reopen will be subject to strict safety protocols, including temperature checks, contact information for tracing, face coverings when not seated and other safety protocols.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo

Bar service will not be permitted, and restaurants will close at midnight. Guidelines will be reassessed based on the data by November 1. If the infection rate does not increase, restaurants may be permitted to go to 50 percent capacity; the State will monitor any positivity increase on an ongoing basis and potentially reassess if necessary. Business guidance for indoor dining in New York City is available here.

“I want to thank New Yorkers for their hard work to increase compliance, and we can now take the next step in reopening our restaurants. We’ve been speaking with stakeholders, and we are now announcing that we can safely reopen indoor dining in New York City with limited capacity at the end of this month, as long as they adhere to strict health and safety protocols,” said Cuomo. “This is good news and the right step forward, especially for restaurant owners and staff who have been struggling through this time. But it is up to all of us to ensure compliance and the health and safety of those around us.”

Guidance for Indoor Dining in New York City include:

  • 25 percent occupancy limit
  • Temperature checks will be required at the door for all customers
  • One member of each party will be required to provide contact information for tracing if needed
  • No bar service – bars will only be used as service bars, a source of making drinks and serving them tableside
  • Masks must be worn at all times when not seated at a table
  • Tables must be six feet apart
  • Restaurants close at midnight
  • Strict adherence to all State-issued guidance
  • Restaurants should operate with enhanced air filtration, ventilation and purification standards
  • Limit air recirculation and allow for outside air ventilation
  • Outdoor dining will continue in the interim

Mayor Bill de Blasio said that through working with state and public health officials, the city has achieved a plan that puts health and safety first by including strict capacity limits, a close monitoring of citywide positive testing rates and a coordinated inspection regimen.

Mayor Bill de Blasio

“Science will guide our decision-making as we continue to monitor progress and health care indicators over the next three weeks to ensure a safe reopening. This may not look like the indoor dining that we all know and love, but it is progress for restaurant workers and all New Yorkers,” said de Blasio, adding if the city hits 2% in COVID-19 positivity rates, it will immediately reassess the plan.

Andrew Rigie, executive director of the NYC Hospitality Alliance thanked Cuomo, saying a safe return to indoor dining is critical to help save these vital small businesses and jobs. “Restaurants are essential to New York’s economic and social fabric, and indoor dining is a key component to the industry’s recovery,” he said.

Open Restaurants, New York City’s outdoor dining program, has already given the restaurant industry a lifeline; more than 10,000 restaurants are participating, and the program has saved an estimated 90,000 jobs.

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