Indoor dining to resume at 25 percent capacity on Valentine’s Day: Cuomo

A waiter fills a glass in the Mediterranean seafood restaurant Estiatorio Milos at the Hudson Yards as restaurants resumed indoor dining at 25 percent capacity due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Manhattan, New York City, U.S., Sept. 30, 2020. (REUTERS/Andrew Kelly)


Now you have no excuse not to have a date this Valentine’s Day.

Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that New York City restaurants will resume indoor dining at 25 percent capacity on Feb. 14, citing the city’s dropping infection rate and stating with confidence that positive tests will continue to fall.

Data collected by the city and state paint different pictures of New York City’s infection rate. According to state data, New York City’s infection rate peaked at 7.1 percent on Jan. 4, and has fallen to 4.9 percent since then. Data collected by the city, on the other hand, listed the city’s infection rate at over 8 percent on Jan. 29.

Cuomo also intends to allow weddings and wedding venues to operate again with up to 150 guests after March 15, with an emphasis on rapid COVID testing for all guests.

“You could make a reservation now or plan dinner on Valentine’s Day, you propose on Valentine’s Day, and then you can have the wedding ceremony March 15, up to 150 people,” he said. “People will actually come to your wedding because you can tell them with the testing it will be safe, everyone there will have been tested.”

Queens Chamber of Commerce President Thomas Grech celebrated the governor’s announcement, citing his fear that the chilly winter temperatures could serve as a final blow to local restaurants should indoor dining not return soon.

“The return of indoor dining at 25 percent capacity on Valentine’s Day will be a massive relief to restaurant owners, who look forward to welcoming back their loyal and supportive customers,” Grech said.

Still, with over 1,000 Queens-based restaurants closing their doors in the past year, Grech urged leaders at the state and national level to do more.

“While this long-awaited move is helpful, it is not nearly enough and we urge the governor, in the strongest terms, to increase capacity to 50 percent by March 1 and 100 percent by St. Patrick’s Day,” Grech said. “We must continue to push for more to be done to help these small business owners, including calling on Congress and President Biden to pass The RESTAURANTS Act immediately. We ask that all New Yorkers support their favorite restaurants at this time.”

Additional reporting by Jacob Kaye.

This story was updated at 1:38 p.m., on Friday, Jan. 29, 2021. 

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