Updated: Oct 23, 2020
BY: KATIE HINKLE | A&E EDITOR
"I want to thank New Yorkers for their hard work to increase compliance, and we can now take the next step in reopening our restaurants. We've been speaking with stakeholders, and we are now announcing that we can safely reopen indoor dining in New York City with limited capacity at the end of this month, as long as they adhere to strict health and safety protocols,” Governor Cuomo announced on September 9, 2020.
Indoor dining in New York City may resume on September 30th at 25% capacity for restaurants that choose to open and comply with the protocols put in place.
Shortly after this announcement, the New York City Council voted to allow these restaurants to collect a 10% surcharge to help make up for the losses some eateries experienced.
It has been six months since the country practically shut down due to the overwhelming Coronavirus outbreak and now restaurant owners can finally see the light at the end of this very dark tunnel.
While many New Yorkers have been waiting for this day to come, it will not be the same dining experience we once knew and loved.
Here is what to expect while indoor dining per governor.ny.gov:
No more than 25% of the buildings maximum occupancy
Tables will be at least six feet apart unless space does not allow for such distance— dividers will be installed under these circumstances.
No more than 10 guests per table
Face covering required unless seated
Possible service fee up to 10%
Bar tops still closed
Temperature checks before entry
Contact info for tracing purposes
Restaurants must close by midnight
Those who witness restaurants and/or restaurant-goers violating any of the restrictions put in place are urged to report issues by calling 833-208-4160, or by texting 'VIOLATION' to 855-904-5036.
Governor Cuomo expressed his gratitude toward New Yorkers for their hard work to lower the COVID-19 positivity rate below 1%. And if the infection rate does not increase after reintroducing indoor dining, capacity may increase to 50% in the coming months.
With a recent spike in cases in several Brooklyn and Queens neighborhoods, however, that may change these plans in some neighborhoods.
AND As many people are excited to start dining indoors, unfortunately, this news comes a little too late for thousands of small businesses that were forced to permanently close due to massive losses during the nationwide shutdown. One-third of all these closures are in the restaurant business.
Restaurants and cafes from a number of neighborhoods right here in Brooklyn have unfortunately closed their doors for good. Spots in Williamsburg, Clinton Hill, Bushwick, Fort Greene, and more have fallen due to their COVID-19 closures.
Wondering what you can do to help your favorite NYC restaurants?
Make sure to order take-out and tip well, especially when you’re dining outdoors for the time being. And check out your favorite restaurant’s indoor dining situation on September 30th!