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Indoor dining will once again be barred in New York City restaurants starting on Monday, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said on Friday, a significant reversal of the city’s reopening that comes as officials try to halt the escalation of a second wave of the coronavirus.
The decision, which Mr. Cuomo earlier this week suggested was all but certain, is a crushing blow to the city’s restaurant industry, a vital economic pillar that has been struggling all year in the face of pandemic restrictions and a national recession.
As he announced the new restrictions, the governor called on federal lawmakers to provide relief to the hospitality industry. Congressional leaders have struggled to reach an agreement on a new economic stimulus package.
“The federal government must provide relief to these bars and restaurants in this next package,” Mr. Cuomo said at a news conference.
In a major setback for New York City’s economic recovery amid the coronavirus pandemic, indoor dining will shut down yet again Monday due to a resurgence of cases, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Friday.
Cuomo, during a virtual press briefing, explained that the Big Apple’s coronavirus-related hospitalization rate has been dramatically increasing over the last two weeks.
“We’re going to close indoor dining in New York City on Monday” because of that factor, the governor said.
Take-out, delivery and outdoor dining will still be permitted.
Earlier this week, Cuomo said that if a New York region’s hospitalization rate has not stabilized after five days, indoor dining will be closed or reduced in that region.
Indoor dining has been operating at 25 percent capacity in New York City since it was permitted to resume on Sept. 30 – following a six-month shutdown due to the coronavirus crisis.
Across the rest of the state, indoor dining has been operating at 50 percent capacity.
Restaurants and bars in New York City will once again be forced to indefinitely close their doors for indoor service next week, Gov. Cuomo announced Friday, as hospitals across the five boroughs remained overburdened by a troubling new surge in coronavirus infections.
Starting Monday, Big Apple eateries will only be allowed to offer outdoor seating and takeout due to the “dramatic” uptick in COVID-19 hospitalizations, Cuomo said in a virtual briefing from Albany.
“This is the ultimate cause for concern,” Cuomo said as hospitalizations reached 5,321 statewide, with 1,668 patients in the city.
“We’re asking everyone to hold on,” he said later in the briefing. “The end is in sight, but we still have to get there.”
Beyond hospitalizations, the governor said a big reason for reinstating the indoor dining ban is a recent spike in New York’s statewide COVID-19 transmission rate.
Governor Cuomo has announced that indoor dining in New York City will end on Monday, despite dining as a whole being to blame for only 1.34 percent of the new COVID cases in New York State.
It will continue in other parts of the state but Cuomo said it's ending in New York City because hospitalizations are on the rise.
The decision serves as a death warrant for many small, independently owned restaurants.
The industry is already hanging by a thread after an excruciating months-long closure earlier in the year. Now, owners have only two ways to make money; they can have people eat outdoors or operate deliveries and take-out.
But with temperatures plunging to freezing and with many more months of winter ahead, diner numbers are dwindling.
Restaurants haven't been given any form of financial help from the federal government or any government from April.
In New York City, outdoor dining wasn't allowed to start until the end of June - half way through the summer- and indoor dining only began at the end of September.
Restaurant owners told DailyMail.com on Friday that they would not have to lay off their staff - who they'd hoped to keep on through the holiday period - in light of Cuomo's decision which they called 'inexplicable' and 'a disgrace'.