Customers will have to hold off on making indoor dinner reservations.
Governor Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Wednesday that New York City will delay the indoor restaurant seating component of the Phase 3 reopening.
Originally, some indoor seating was to be allowed beginning Monday, July 6. However, due to the spread of COVID-19 in other parts of the country, that plan has been scrapped.
“Indoors is the problem more and more and science is showing it more and more,” said de Blasio. “I want to make it very clear we cannot go ahead at this point in time with indoor dining in New York City. Even a week ago, honestly, I was hopeful we could, but the news we have gotten from around the country gets worse and worse. We are going to work with the State of New York to figure out what’s the exact right way to do this.”
The mayor said the city will expand its outdoor dining and Open Restaurants program.
“The data in this city and state is getting better all the time, but the data around the country is getting worse in the last few days,” he said.
“The virus is still with us,” said State Senator Andrew Gounardes. “We need to be smart and follow the evidence. Seeing what’s happening around the country, caution is merited. We can’t go back to the nightmarish days of April.”
“Our community has suffered greatly from the spread of COVID-19,” said Assemblymember Felix Ortiz. “While preventing restaurant openings seems inconvenient for many, we must continue to be vigilant and protect our vulnerable community. We must also provide the financial relief that small businesses need to weather this crisis.”
“It’s just too soon,” said Councilmember Justin Brannan. “I think we should focus on getting outdoor dining right first and I think we still have work to do there.”
However, there is panic among local businesses.
“Restaurants and bars have been making enormous financial sacrifices for four months, and their survival now depends on compensation reflective of those losses,” said Andrew Rigie, executive director of the NYC Hospitality Alliance. “We respect the government and public health officials’ decision to postpone the anticipated July 6 reopening of indoor dining, but the longer neighborhood restaurants and bars are forced to be closed, the harder it will be for them to ever successfully reopen.”