Coronavirus Update New York City: NYC indoor dining can soon increase to 50% capacity

Coronavirus update for NYC

ByEyewitness News WABC logo
Thursday, March 11, 2021
Indoor dining to expand soon, but many restaurants are closed for good
Josh Einiger reports on the state of New York City's restaurants, many of which have closed for good amid the coronavirus pandemic.

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- Indoor dining in New York City will soon be allowed to increase to 50% capacity.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo made the announcement Wednesday.

Starting March 19, restaurants in New Jersey and NYC can expand their indoor dining.

The capacity for indoor dining in both areas is currently 35%.

RELATED | New Jersey increasing indoor capacity for businesses, restaurants

Cuomo previously announced that starting March 19, restaurants outside of NYC can increase to 75% capacity.

"In New York State, our decisions are based on science and data and we are encouraged by the continued decline in infection and hospitalization rates," Governor Cuomo said. "In partnership with the State of New Jersey, we have adjusted with rigorous testing and limited capacity indoor dining openings in New York City to expand to 50 percent. We will continue to follow the science and react accordingly. If we keep the infections down and vaccinations up, we will continue to stay ahead in the footrace against this invisible enemy and reach the light at the end of the tunnel together."

Since New York City indoor dining was reopened on February 12, two COVID-19 incubation periods have passed without any significant rise in infection and hospitalization rates.

Andrew Rigie, the executive director of NYC Hospitality Alliance, said the increase will give the industry some optimism:

"Cautiously and safely increasing indoor dining capacity at New York City restaurants to 50%, with an eye towards more occupancy, more vaccinations, and dedicated restaurant relief that's on its way from the federal government gives our industry some optimism among all the doom and gloom of this past year."

As more restaurants prepare to reopen to a higher capacity, New York Senate Republicans have introduced a resolution to repeal Cuomo's mandate that prohibits the sale of alcoholic beverages without purchasing food.

The resolution was put into effect last July, and critics say it caused mass confusion within the bar and restaurant industry that was already struggling to comply with constantly changing regulations and mandates.

"While we all recognized the need to make adjustments to help contain the spread of the virus in the midst of the pandemic, this order was completely arbitrary, with absolutely no scientific data to back it up. Our bars and restaurants continue to struggle under burdensome mandates passed on by the Governor, and lifting this one is a no-brainer that would immediately help these businesses get back on their feet," said Senate Republican Leader Rob Ortt.

ALSO READ | Man, 91, recovering after accidentally being vaccinated twice in one day

A 91-year-old Ohio man is recovering after being vaccinated twice in one day.
national geographic covid newsletter sign up


New York City COVID-19 Vaccine Tracker

New Jersey COVID-19 Vaccine Tracker

Find out if you are eligible and where you can go to get your vaccine

Do you have coronavirus symptoms?

Where to get tested in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut

WATCH: Eyewitness to a Pandemic

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on coronavirus

Submit a News Tip or Question