There’s no timeline for the return of indoor dining in New York City, but Mayor Bill de Blasio keeps dropping hints that it may not return until next year.
Since March 16th, indoor dining has been banned across the five boroughs with restaurants only able to stay in business with takeout and delivery. For the first time, bars were able to offer to-go cocktails (at least temporarily). As the city and state implemented a phased reopening plan, however, restaurants and bars have started turning toward outdoor dining as a lifeline.
But, at least for now, the future of indoor dining is murky. Restaurant owners are reeling from the financial impact on their bottom line (some of the city’s most notable restaurants have permanently closed) and some have banded together under the New York City Hospitality Alliance to demand a clear answer.
“Indoor dining, there's not a plan right now. There's not a context for indoor dining,” de Blasio said on WNYC’s “The Brian Lehrer Show” show last week. “We're never saying it's impossible but we do not based on what we've seen around the world, we do not have a plan for reopening indoor dining in the near term.”
The mayor cited Hong Kong as an example, adding that his senior health advisor noted how there was a resurgence of cases in that city tied to indoor dining and bars (officials in Hong Kong have gone back and forth with its bans).
In a press conference on Monday, Mayor de Blasio again suggested 2021 as a possibility for indoor dining, as reported by Eater NY.
“Of course we’ll be back,” said de Blasio, during Monday’s press conference. “If folks miss the theater, if they miss indoor dining, those things will be back. They’ll be back next year at some point. I think that is overwhelmingly the case.”
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