NYC Delays Indoor Dining, Worried About Second Wave of Covid

A man peers out of a coffee shop in Lower Manhattan on Sunday as demonstrators surge past in a queer liberation march for Black Lives Matter and against police brutality. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

MANHATTAN (CN) — As the virus rages in other parts of the county, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo delayed the opening of indoor dining in the city.

Both the mayor and Cuomo at separate press conferences said they are doubling down on outdoor dining.

“Indoors is the problem,” de Blasio said. “The science is showing it more and more.”

He said a week ago he was hopeful, but the news from around the country gets worse all the time.

“I want to make very clear that we cannot go ahead at this point and time with indoor dining,” de Blasio said.

The mayor committed to working with the state to figure out when the correct moment would be to reopen indoor dining.

In the meantime, de Blasio said the city will double down on outdoor dining — an initiative that he said has seen 6,600 restaurants openings so far.

Cuomo emphasized that this is a “New York City only” pronouncement because the problem is only in New York City.

“It’s partially the other states going up,” Cuomo said. “We’re worried about that, and it’s partially lack of citizen compliance and lack of local government compliance enforcement.”

Mask compliance is also slipping, Cuomo said.  

“Citizen compliance is slipping,” Cuomo said. “That is a fact. 

“If you have citizen compliance dropping, and you don’t have local governments enforcing,” he added, “then you’re going to see the virus go up. Period.”

Citing the increases in the virus in other states, Cuomo said he feels “there are storm clouds on the horizon.”

He said indoor dining will be postponed “until the facts change, and it is prudent to open.”

“But the facts have to change because at this point it isn’t prudent,” he continued.

Industry members see the wisdom in the move.

“New York City restaurants and bars have been financially devastated and the only thing they can afford less than not reopening now, is to reopen, rehire and resupply to only be shut down again shortly thereafter if there’s a resurgence of Covid-19 cases, similar to the spikes closing businesses around the country,” the New York City Hospitality Alliance said in a statement.

“We respect the government and public health official’s decision to postpone the anticipated July 6th reopening of indoor dining, but the longer neighborhood restaurants and bars are forced to be closed, the harder it will be for them to ever successfully reopen. 

“This makes it even more urgent to forgive rent, expand outdoor dining and enact other responsive policies to save our city’s beloved small businesses and jobs.”

In Connecticut, Governor Ned Lamont has no plans to roll back the indoor dining that opened at 50% capacity on June 17. 

Bars in Connecticut are still not open and may not open in mid-July when they are scheduled to reopen. 

In New Jersey, Governor Phil Murphy tweeted Monday that restrictions for indoor dining will remain in place, citing surges in Covid-19 cases in other states. 

“We’ve always said that we would not hesitate to hit pause if needed to safeguard public health,” Murphy added. “This is one of those times.”

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