Indoor dining can resume in NYC at 25% capacity starting Sept. 30 -- but with many restrictions

Adam Warner
September 09, 2020 - 1:14 pm
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    NEW YORK (1010 WINS) – Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday that indoor dining will be allowed to resume in New York City at 25 percent capacity on Sept. 30 -- but with a slew of restrictions.

    Here are the requirements restaurants will need to meet if they wish to offer indoor dining:

    • 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 (phone number, email, etc.)
    • No bar service; bars will only be used as service bars, a source of making drinks and serving them table-side
    • Masks must be worn at all times when not seated at a table and tables must be 6 feet apart
    • Restaurants will close at midnight
    • Strict adherence to all state-issued guidance
    • Restaurants should operate with air filtration, ventilation and purification standards
    • Limit air recirculation and allow for outdoor air ventilation
    • Outdoor dining will continue in the interim

    To help enforce compliance at restaurants, the state will expand its State Police and State Liquor Authority task force and New York City will provide 400 code enforcement inspectors.

    “The number of places that are going to have to be checked for compliance are about 10,000, so even with the state expanding the task force and the city adding 400 code compliance inspectors to that task force, 10,000 is still a very large universe,” Cuomo said, adding that the people of New York City will assist with compliance.

    The Restaurant Association and New York state will run PSAs asking New Yorkers “to report violations of that 25 percent capacity.”

    Cuomo said patrons who observe violations should report compliance issues by calling 833-208-4160 or by texting VIOLATION to 855-904-5036. An inspector will then be sent to the restaurant. More information can be found at ny.gov/nycindoordining.

    “It will all be anonymous—the restaurant will not know you are the one who provided information,” the governor said.

    Cuomo said the state will reassess the indoor dining guidelines based on data on Nov. 1. If the infection rate does not increase, the state may allow 50 percent capacity in restaurants.

    “We have set Nov. 1 as a deadline to determine whether or not we can go from 25 to 50,” Cuomo said. “Again, we could do it at any time before Nov. 1, but we have Nov. 1 as a benchmark where we could go to 50 percent.”

    Mayor Bill de Blasio released a statement after Cuomo's announcement: “We are continuing New York City’s economic recovery by bringing back indoor dining. Working with the state and public health officials, we’ve 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. 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.”

    The mayor said that if the city hits a COVID-19 positivity rate of 2 percent, officials "will immediately reassess" indoor dining.

    Currently, New York City is the only area in the tri-state that does not allow some form of indoor dining.

    The return to indoor restaurants was put on hold when New York City entered Phase 4 in June over concerns about spikes in cases in other areas that had eased restrictions on dining.

    Nearly 200 struggling restaurants in the five boroughs recently filed a class action lawsuit against Cuomo and de Blasio, demanding indoor dining return.