New York City to open indoor dining at 25% capacity by end of September

Photo by Mark Hallum

Governor Andrew Cuomo announced on Wednesday that New York City will finally start to open indoor dining at the end of the month.

Starting Sept. 30, New York City restaurants will be allowed to operate at 25 percent capacity for indoor dining. The state’s SLA task force will expand into the city, with the city providing 400 code enforcement/inspectors to help enforce compliance.

Strict guidelines will be put in place for city restaurants as they reopen. All patrons will have their temperatures checked at the door and must wear masks when they are not at their table. At least one patron in the party will have to provide their contact information for contact tracing should someone be exposed to COVID-19.

Tables at restaurants must be at least six feet apart. Restaurants will not be allowed to offer bar service, meaning bars can only be used to make drinks to be served tableside, and must close at midnight. Reopened restaurants will also have to have enhanced air filtration, ventilation and purification standards, and all restaurants must comply with all state-issued guidance. Outdoor dining will remain available after indoor dining resumes.

Repeated or egregious violations could result in the loss of a restaurant’s license to operate, Cuomo said. Cuomo noted that indoor seating could go up to 50 percent in New York City in November. If New York City hits 2 percent in COVID-19 positivity rates, the city will immediately reassess.

“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,” said Mayor de Blasio in a statement. “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.”

In addition to the added help from the city, Cuomo stated that the New York City community can help with restaurant compliance once indoor dining resumes. The Restaurant Association and the state will run PSAs asking New Yorkers to report 25 percent capacity violations. New Yorkers can report violations by calling 833-208-4160 or by texting VIOLATION to 855-904-5036. More information can be found at ny.gov/nycindoordining.

“New Yorkers will keep New Yorkers safe,” said Cuomo. “The New York community is the best compliance unit. New Yorkers have shown all through this they have forged community.”

This story originally appeared on amny.com

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