Welp, we finally got the answer to that question: Starting Monday, indoor dining will cease to exist in New York City, just shy of three months since dining rooms were allowed to reopen at 25-percent capacity, Governor Cuomo announced during this morning's press briefing. The shutdown comes as hospitalizations (current tally is at 5,321) and positivity rates (at 4.98 percent total) continue to climb across the five boroughs and throughout the state.
The suspension is set to last indefinitely and as of press time, there is no reopening timeline. Local restaurants will still be permitted to operate takeout and delivery, as well as outdoor dining. The governor's decision is finally a concrete answer to the bureaucratic flip-flopping that's been plaguing restaurant owners and workers for the last few weeks. It's also yet another blow to an already-battered industry that will have to weather the winter months, when they undoubtedly will see lower customer turnout no matter how ingenious their outdoor dining set-ups, all without federal aid.
In a separate press conference on Friday, Major De Blasio showed support for Cuomo's call. "I feel tremendous empathy for restaurant owners, a lot of them are mom and pop businesses, we want them to survive. We need them to survive," the mayor said. "At the same time, these numbers don't lie. For the first time unfortunately all three of our indicators are past their thresholds. That's a second wave. We have to fight it back to save lives. We have to fight it back to start our recovery."
In contract tracing data put forth by the governor today, New York restaurants and bars accounted for 1.43 percent of COVID-19 viral spread between September and November. The highest culprit? Household and social gatherings, at nearly 74 percent.
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