NYC lifting midnight curfew for outdoor dining, capacity limits ending Wednesday

Coronavirus update for NYC
NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- New York City is lifting its midnight curfew for outdoor dining Monday, and restrictions will further east throughout the month.

There will no longer be capacity limits starting Wednesday, May 19, and on May 31, the city is lifting its indoor dining curfew.

The last 14 months have been very difficult for restaurants in the city, with the New York State Restaurant Association predicting that nearly half of the cities eateries wouldn't survive the pandemic.

Now there is a push to make permanent some of the changes that helped restaurants stay afloat.

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In a year that has shaken the restaurant industry to its core, several executive orders have helped keep many establishments afloat -- like allowing alcohol to be ordered for pickup or delivery along with food.

"During this pandemic, serving alcohol to go has become a lifeline and popular with the dining public," NYC Hospitality Alliance Executive Director Andrew Rigie said.

The Alliance is also asking lawmakers to allow for the continuation of alcohol service as part of outdoor dining, which has very much become the norm despite being a rarity pre-pandemic.

"Having had Melba's for 18 years, I'd never had outdoor dining," owner Melba Wilsons aid. "I am here to tell you outdoor dining was a lifeline for me my employees, but more importantly to our community."

There's also a call to allow the state Liquor Authority to grant temporary liquor licenses in New York City, something they can already do throughout the rest of the state.

The liquor business is a big driver for restaurants.

"If we had the license temporary, we'd be open in three weeks," restaurateur Danny Abram said. "The landlord needs the revenue, the neighborhood needs the vacancies to be occupied."

The goal is to get these items enacted into law immediately, not just to help restaurants recover, but to put the industry in a better position to thrive -- which of course helps the city in the long run.

The legislative session ends June 10.

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