Just a week ago, officials were cautiously optimistic that New York City would reinstate indoor dining in Phase 3 of reopening, but the resurgence of the current crisis in other states has made it official: indoor dining across the five boroughs is delayed indefinitely.
“I want to make it very clear: we cannot go ahead at this point in time with indoor dining in New York City,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio during a Wednesday morning press conference. “Even a week ago, honestly, I was hopeful we could. But the news we have gotten from around the country gets worse and worse all the time.”
Governor Andrew Cuomo echoed similar sentiments, even as indoor dining has begun in other parts of the state already in the middle of Phase 3. The five boroughs are set to enter this stage on July 6th and restaurants were the biggest part of the reopening plans. Now only businesses considered “personal care”—spas, nail salons and massage parlors, among others—will welcome the public.
"It's a New York City-only modification, because frankly it's a problem most pronounced in New York City," says Cuomo, confirming de Blasio’s earlier statements.
States such as Texas, Florida and California have reverted their opening plans in recent days as more people have become sick. Some criticisms of the reopening plans have been focused on bars as a major factor in the public health failure because patrons tend to have less room to socially distance.
“It's the density in those places and the amount of time you're in those places and proximity,” said Cuomo, in today's press briefing. “With indoor dining, you're sitting there for an hour, you have your mask down a lot because it's hard to eat and drink with your mask, and you're sitting with the same people in proximity for a long period of time. You have cases where one bar or restaurant has caused dozens of infections, so that is inherent in indoor dining."
For now, it appears outdoor dining will only continue to expand in New York City. The Department of Transportation also has plans to soon announce which Open Streets will be dedicated to restaurants as well. Both the governor and mayor say the city and state will work together to decide when indoor dining can return.
“It is not the time to forge ahead with indoor dining,” de Blasio says.
Shaye Weaver contributed to this story.
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