NYC To Reopen Indoor Dining As Virus Cases Stay Low

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New York City will reinstate indoor dining as of Sept. 30 after months of coronavirus-induced shutdowns, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said, as reported by The Wall Street Journal.

The reopenings will be for limited capacities of 25 percent for now, and restaurants will have to comply with other restrictions as well.

Indoor dining was one of the few things still banned in the Big Apple as the city began reopening procedures months ago, with the reasoning being the ease of transmitting the highly-contagious coronavirus in closed indoor settings. Restaurants have had to rely on takeout and outside seating, and that has not been enough for many to sustain revenue streams.

The reason for the reopening of indoor dining, Cuomo said, is because compliance with distancing restrictions among New York City restaurants has now exceeded 99 percent. Restaurants will have to implement temperature checks and get contact information from one person in each party for contact tracing purposes, the newspaper reported.

Although there are still risks to consider with restaurants and indoor dining, Cuomo said, “there’s also a great economic loss when they don’t operate.” A recent report from New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer found that around 2,800 small businesses have closed since March when the pandemic hit, including around 1,289 restaurants.

Indoor dining remained banned New York City for longer than any other place in the state, due to what Cuomo termed the dense nature of the city and the need for caution.

But the city, originally an epicenter of the pandemic, has managed to tamper infection rates in recent weeks, and now the positivity rate is around 1 percent, according to city leaders.

Officials are keeping a close watch on the situation, however. Cuomo recently said restaurants might have to close again in the winter if outdoor dining had to go on and if noncompliance with regulations occurred.

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