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Vago Restaurant
Photograph: Courtesy Andrew Werner / Vago Restaurant

Indoor dining can re-open at 75% capacity all over New York—except for the city

The new guidelines go into effect on March 19.

Anna Rahmanan
Written by
Anna Rahmanan

The never-ending dance that is indoor dining continues: Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that all restaurants outside of the five boroughs can expand their indoor dining capacity to 75% starting March 19. Eateries within New York City, however, will have to keep operating at 35% capacity indoors for now.

The logic behind the difference in guidelines rests on the assumption that New York City happens to be more densely populated than surrounding neighborhoods, therefore increasing the potential risk of spreading COVID-19. 

Unlike previous capacity-related decisions, this one will have to be approved by the New York legislature before becoming official since the Governor has been stripped of his emergency powers in response to accusations of sexual harassment and his administration's recently unveiled role in the nursing home scandal.

The restaurants-related update comes alongside the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) new guidelines for vaccinated people, which were announced today. According to the CDC, vaccinated folks can now gather indoors without wearing masks or having to social distance. They also no longer need to quarantine if exposed to someone carrying the virus—as long as they don't display any symptoms themselves—and can actually visit an unvaccinated household "where people are at low risk of serious coronavirus illness."

These are obviously huge steps forward that almost entirely rely on the efficacy of the various vaccines currently being administered around the country and the access each state is providing citizens with. 

In New York—as in all other states—rules are constantly changing so do make sure to keep up to date with them and claim your spot on the vaccine line as soon as you can. Check out our constantly updated vaccine page to learn more about the process. 

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