New York City announced on Wednesday that it would allow indoor dining in the city. According to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, lifting restrictions on New York City restaurants will begin on September 30.
Indoor Dining in New York City
The decision will give restaurant owners the chance to operate indoor dining services at 25 percent capacity. Of course, like any other business, restaurants should also implement safety precautions.
UPDATE: On September 30, indoor dining in NYC can resume at 25% capacity.
Strict restrictions will be in place. pic.twitter.com/ORzwGM67PQ
— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) September 9, 2020
Public health safety protocols include mandatory wearing of masks. In addition, establishments should take the temperature of customers before entering. Table arrangements must maintain six feet apart. Moreover, at least one person (if in a group) should give contact details in case of contact tracing.
On top of the mentioned protocols, the city requires restaurants to enhance air ventilation and filtration. However, the city prohibits restaurants from offering bar services. Also, restaurants should close by midnight.
The Pandemic vs Businesses
The pandemic has forced many governments to impose restrictions, including operation ban among restaurants. CNN Business cited a survey from the New York State Restaurant Association. Particularly, the survey asked over 1,000 restaurant owners. The results revealed that 64 percent of restaurant owners could close their business if not given financial assistance.
The governor said he understands the “economic pressure” for these businesses. But Cuomo noted that restaurants pose a risk.
Meanwhile, Business Insider reported that experts reckon the 25 percent capacity may not suffice for restaurant owners. They argue that the operating costs would only increase for a chance to get few customers to dine. Some of them suggest that a COVID-19 vaccine could help them return to reach sales akin before the health crisis.
Compliant New Yorkers
During a press briefing, Gov. Cuomo thanked the New Yorkers for being compliant in the protocols. Moreover, New York City will set out 400 inspectors to work with its compliance task force. In addition to the protocols, restaurants must also include an announcement outside indicating capacity and a phone number to report violations.
The capacity could increase to 50 percent, the governor said. However, it will still depend on the infection rate remaining under the current 0.91 percent in the state. Notably, the rate remained under one percent for 33 days already.