(NEW YORK) – Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that indoor dining capacity could increase to 35%, starting Feb. 26. The announcement comes after he said last week that indoor dining could resume on Feb. 12 at 25% capacity, reopening sooner than originally scheduled on Valentine’s Day.
Cuomo said that he was asked by restaurateurs to change the date so that they could have more time to prepare. The governor also provided data showing how positivity rates are down in the city.
“The post-holiday surge is over,” said Cuomo at a Feb. 8 press conference. “We see it in the positivity, we see it in the hospitalizations- the numbers are down now.”
“Obviously we’re more sensitive to New York City because of the density, the concentration, the history, but we’re headed in the right direction,” Cuomo said during the Feb. 19 briefing. The numbers continue to be good, we’ll continue to make progress.”.The move also comes after the announcement that restaurant workers would be eligible to receive vaccinations. According to Gothamist, there have been many delays in vaccine shipments to the city, due to the winter weather happening across the country. Some 35,000 slots that were meant for New York City residents are now on hold until more shipments arrive.
Berton Schaeffer, who is the restaurant manager at Stone Park Cafe in Brooklyn, welcomed the news with some mixed feelings.
“There are of course concerns about people’s health and safety,” said Schaeffer. “We do feel like we’re taking appropriate safety measures … a lot of customers have commended us on that. It’s good that people feel comfortable.”
“When we get to warmer weather, I think we will start to get back to normal,” he said. “I think the uncertainty in dining among customers will start to get better when it gets warmer, people have loved dining outdoors.”