BY BEN VERDE
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.
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.