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Indoor dining capacity to increase to 75 percent on May 7

People enjoy indoor dining as the spread of COVID-19 continues in New York City.
REUTERS/Jeenah Moon

New York City restaurants can allow more patrons to dine inside starting next week.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced on Friday that starting May 7, indoor dining in the city will be expanded to 75 percent capacity. This increase brings the city to the same level of capacity as the rest of New York State.

“After a long and incredibly difficult fight, New York State is winning the war against COVID-19, and that means it’s time to loosen some restrictions put in place to protect the public health and help our local businesses,” Cuomo said. “There’s no doubt that restaurants have been among the pandemic’s hardest hit businesses, and New York City’s thriving restaurant industry has found it challenging to keep staff and maintain profits. We’re easing restrictions on restaurants, personal care services and gyms to put more money in the pockets of small business owners and working people in New York City, which was hit so hard by the pandemic but, I have no doubt, will come back stronger than ever.”

Half-capacity for gyms and fitness centers

In addition to expanded indoor dining, New York City hair salons, barbershops and other personal care services will expand to 75 percent capacity beginning May 7. Starting May 15, New York City gyms and fitness centers will also expand to 50 percent capacity. All expanded capacity changes will be subject to state public health guidance including social distancing and masks.

The announcement comes after recent measures made to re-open the economy further as a result of New York’s steady decline in COVID-19 positivity and hospitalization rates. The food and beverage curfew will be lifted for outdoor dining on May 17 and for indoor dining areas beginning May 31.

The 1 am curfew for catered events where attendees have provided proof of vaccination status or a recent negative COVID-19 test result will also be lifted beginning May 17, with the curfew for all catered events set to be lifted May 31.

Cuomo also announced that he will rescind the Executive Order establishing the micro-cluster zone strategy in light of New York State’s progress against the COVID-19 pandemic. Applicable state public health guidance must still be followed for all industries.

“New York City’s hospitality industry has been decimated by the pandemic, and while there is still a long road to recovery, Governor Cuomo’s announcement earlier this week on easing restaurant and bar restrictions, along with today’s news that indoor dining occupancy will increase to 75 percent in the five boroughs provides a shot of optimism to small business owners and workers who have been financially devastated over the past year,” NYC Hospitality Alliance Executive Director Andrew Rigie said. “We look forward to working with Governor Cuomo’s administration to safely reopen New York City, so we can get the restaurant capital of the world cooking again.”

This story first appeared on AMNY.com.

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