Coronavirus NYC: Restaurants, bars can stay open an hour later starting Monday

Coronavirus Update for New York

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Tuesday, April 20, 2021
More vaccines, reopenings across Tri-State
Josh Einiger has the latest on easing COVID restrictions across the Tri-State.

NEW YORK (WABC) -- Restaurants and bars in New York City can now stay open until midnight and catered events can go until 1 a.m., the latest incremental loosening of pandemic restrictions.

Still, businesses say the extra hour -- the previous curfew was 11 p.m. -- does not go far enough.

Indoor capacity is still limited to 50%, and any alcoholic beverages must come with food.

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New York City Hospitality Alliance Executive Director Andrew Rigie said it is a step in the right direction, but more steps need to be taken.

"We still need a roadmap for when the curfew will be lifted like it has for other industries," he said, noting that gyms and even casinos can stay open all night.

Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that museum and zoo capacities will increase to 50% and movie theaters to 33% next Monday, while large indoor arenas will increase to 25% capacity on May 19, in time for the NBA playoffs.

City officials say vaccination is the key to reopening, and Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Monday that a vaccine site will open at the American Museum of Natural History. The site, which will open Friday, will focus initially on people who work in cultural institutions.

De Blasio said the 4.91% citywide positivity reported Monday is "below the 5% threshold for the first time in a long time."

"That is a profoundly good sign," he said. "Everyone has been working really hard. Let's keep working. Let's just run COVID out of this time once and for all."

Officials announced over the weekend that walk-ins would be allowed at all city-run vaccine sites for anyone 50 and older, and the mayor hopes to expand that to all eligible residents.

"We are looking at that right now," he said. "We wanted to test this out. The goal here is to make vaccination as convenient as possible. We are going to welcome people to it. I think, honestly, convenience has been one of the issues. The more convenient it gets, the easier it is for people to make that choice. We also want to be careful about not having big lines. Obviously, we don't want people waiting a long time. We've been testing it, expanding the test, so far, so good. And we are looking to see if we can go further."

The 31 locations citywide are offering the shot without an appointment as the city has more supply than ever before -- even with the pause in the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Officials said the city broke the record for daily vaccinations last Friday with 106,527, and that nearly 6 million total vaccines have been administered.

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