Indoor dining will once again be barred in New York City restaurants starting on Monday, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said on Friday, a significant reversal of the city’s reopening that comes as officials try to halt the escalation of a second wave of the coronavirus.
The decision, which Mr. Cuomo earlier this week suggested was all but certain, is a crushing blow to the city’s restaurant industry, a vital economic pillar that has been struggling all year in the face of pandemic restrictions and a national recession.
As he announced the new restrictions, the governor called on federal lawmakers to provide relief to the hospitality industry. Congressional leaders have struggled to reach an agreement on a new economic stimulus package.
“The federal government must provide relief to these bars and restaurants in this next package,” Mr. Cuomo said at a news conference.
For months, New York City’s restaurant owners have warned that their businesses, many of which operate on tight margins in the best of times, are on the edge of financial collapse. Thousands of employees, many of them low-wage workers, have been laid off since March, and their jobs have yet to fully return.
The industry’s anxieties are only mounting as winter approaches and frigid temperatures threaten to deter customers from dining outdoors. Industry groups have called repeatedly for federal or state financial assistance, with restaurant and bar owners watching nervously as stimulus talks drag on in Washington.
“Another forced government closure of New York City restaurants will cause an irreversible harm on even countless more small businesses and the hundreds of thousands of workers they employ, especially if it is not coupled with financial relief,” Andrew Rigie, the executive director of the New York City Hospitality Alliance, said in a statement on Monday.
In announcing the move, the governor cited the increasing rate of virus transmission in the state, as well as the city’s population density and its rising number of virus-related hospitalizations.
“That is a bad situation,” Mr. Cuomo said.
As of Friday, 1,668 people were hospitalized with the virus in New York City, Mr. Cuomo said. Statewide, 5,321 people were hospitalized.
The governor’s announcement came after weeks of shifting messages on indoor dining, which resumed in New York City only at the end of September.
As virus cases across the state this fall, Mr. Cuomo hesitated to impose the widespread restrictions that he implemented in March, when he limited restaurants and bars to takeout and delivery.
In October, the governor said he would shutter indoor dining only in the hardest-hit areas in the state, so-called microclusters. He briefly changed course in late November, saying he would shut down indoor dining citywide if the seven-day average test positivity rate hit 3 percent. He walked back that statement about a week later.
The scattershot approach, which confused residents and business owners alike,…
Go to the news source: Cuomo Suspends Indoor Dining in N.Y.C. Again