New York City restaurants will open but only at 25% capacity

The decision to expand to 50% will arrive on November 1 if the rate of coronavirus infections remains low in the Big Apple

A day after 350 restaurant owners filed a lawsuit in court against Governor Andrew Cuomo and the mayor Bill de Blasio, for the economic damages caused by the closure of interior services in restaurants, the State Government reached out.

Cuomo announced Wednesday that as of On September 30, meals can be offered inside restaurants even if it will only be possible to reach 25% of the capacity to seat the diners. These are the rules imposed by COVID-19 in a city in which infections have been reduced but in which 32,612 lives have been lost, according to data from The New York Times for this disease.

The capacity reduction is one of the many restrictions that owners of one of the economic areas that imprint the personality of the city and they support thousands of jobs. But it is one of the toughest as most restaurants operate on very low margins even when they are at full capacity. The landscape of tables glued to each other in many small restaurants it is very particular to this city.

The news of this initial opening came after De Blasio explained in his daily press conference on Wednesday that he would have news to give about her in a week. Hours later Cuomo disrupted this agenda and advanced the news.

Despite the confusion of the situation Mayor’s office said in a statement that they have worked with the State and those responsible for Health to design and plan how it opens. In reference to the conditions for this opening, De Blasio explained that the indoor dining scene “is not going to resemble the one we know and love but progress is being made for restaurant workers and New Yorkers“.

For the opening it will not only be limited to a quarter the capacity of the restaurants but also will take the customers temperature at the entrance, and you will have to have the data of the tests and those necessary to make traceability of at least one of the clients of each table. The tables have to be at least six feet apart from each other and the employees must have PPE to protect yourself from the coronavirus.

The diners will have to wear masks if they are not at their tables and They will not be able to use the bar counter in case there is. In fact, the opening of restaurants is not accompanied by that of bars. These still do not have a green light to open their doors.

Although Cuomo was not precise, reversing on this controlled opening could occur if infections rise in the city. From the Mayor’s Office, it was explained that if the percentage of positives in the tests reaches 2%, the situation will be rethought.

New York has had an infection rate below 1% for 33 days in a row. Yet Cuomo is concerned that after the Labor Day festivities last weekend there may be a spike. The World Health Organization recommends a ratio below 5%.

If the current control over COVID-19 is maintained with the partial opening of restaurants – something that almost coincides with the beginning of face-to-face classes (on September 21) in schools -, the step forward of allow 50% capacity. Cuomo will make that decision on November 1.

March towards normality

Thus begins the march towards a relative normalization in the restaurant sector, which have been closed to the public for six months and barely open for food deliveries and pick-ups. The limited opening, which was scheduled for early summer, was canceled and instead they proposed closed streets in the city and more spaces on the sidewalks to allow outdoor service, the so-called terraces very popular in southern Europe. It is unsustainable when temperatures drop or the days bring rain.

Cuomo has delayed the opening of restaurants because the normalization, in phases, of these has been associated with outbreaks of the virus.

The New York City it is the last in the state to open its eating places. It is something that has led to the exasperation of many restaurant owners who lamented that in the rest of the state, even in the counties bordering those of the city, there was interior service in the restaurants.

Andrew Rigie, executive director of the NYC Hospitality Alliance explained this Wednesday that the restaurant industry has been financially devastated by the pandemic “and a safe return to indoor activities is critical to saving small businesses and jobs.” “We are grateful to Governor Cuomo for announcing the return of indoor dining as an agenda for future expansion. Restaurants are essential to the New York economy and the social and economic fabric. “

The President of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, Randy Peers, said this measure is a step in the right direction to protect more than 5,500 restaurants whose concern is to survive the winter. Still, Peers said 25% capacity is not going to be a viable solution for all Brooklyn restaurants.

At a recent conference with restaurants, some of them complained about missing the summer season and tourism, all crushed by COVID-19. His hope was pinned on an indoor opening during the winter months before the end of the year holidays, one of the most important moments in terms of clientele and revenue for this industry.

If you see something, say something

Ensuring that the regulations for gradual opening are complied with and complying with the safety requirements is once again everyone’s job.

Governor Andrew Cuomo wants all restrictions placed on the opening and in addition to the State Liquor Authority and the state police will join the city’s watchdog forces. It is about 400 people who are inspectors from the health area, the environment, the NYPD and other departments.

But he has also asked citizens to report the violations with anonymous calls. “We want New Yorkers to be part of the solution,” he said. Clients can call about potential violations to have an inspector appear at 833-208-4160 or send a text to 855-904-5036.

The authorities are taking the restrictions very seriously and there are already more than 100 licenses suspended in the city for not following the opening regulations with restrictions.

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