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Indoor Dining in New York City to Be Shut Down Monday as Hospitalizations Continue to Climb

(Photo by Benedikt Geyer on Unsplash)

Dec. 11, 2020 By Allie Griffin

New York City restaurants will have to close their indoor dining areas come Monday, in response to the growing number of city residents in hospitals with COVID-19.

Indoor dining will be shuttered across the five boroughs for at least two weeks, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Friday.

Cuomo had warned earlier this week that indoor dining would likely shutter Monday should the hospitalization rate climb.

The rate has shown no signs of slowing — triggering the closure, Cuomo said Friday.

The city saw the highest number of new hospitalizations in several months on Wednesday, with 205 patient admissions. Wednesday marked the first day that the number surpassed the city’s threshold of 200 new patients since the city put in place a series of yardsticks to monitor the spread this spring.

(NYC Health Dept)

Outdoor dining, takeout and delivery will still be permitted.

Cuomo, however, acknowledged that the shutdown would be a significant blow to restaurants. He said he would extend the commercial eviction moratorium beyond Jan. 1 to help them through this period. The new date was not disclosed.

The governor said the state doesn’t have funds to provide economic relief to bar and restaurant owners. He said the onus is on the federal government to come to their aid.

“The federal government must provide relief to these bars and restaurants in this next [stimulus] package,” Cuomo said.

New York City has been subject to the toughest restrictions in the state since the pandemic hit. Restaurants across the five boroughs were already limited to 25 percent capacity for indoor dining.

Meanwhile, in other regions across the state the limit is currently at 50 percent capacity. If hospitalizations increase in those areas, Cuomo said that the number would be reduced to 25 percent.

Cuomo said he will reassess indoor dining in other regions of the state next week.

His restrictions on indoor dining follows recent guidance from the CDC warning that COVID-19 is more easily spread through the activity.

New York City has the strictest stipulations due in part to its high population density, Cuomo said.

“In New York City, you put the CDC caution on indoor dining together with the rate of transmission and the density and the crowding — that is a bad situation,” he said. “The hospitalizations have continued to increase in New York City.”

Meanwhile, gyms and salons will remain open — as they have proved to have little impact on viral spread — Cuomo said.

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