Cuomo Confirms Indoor Dining Suspended Again in New York City

Gov. Andrew Cuomo confirmed on Friday all indoor dining in New York City will be suspended again indefinitely, prompted by a continual rise in CCP virus cases and hospitalizations throughout the city and state.

The three-term governor said earlier this week that if COVID-19 hospitalizations in the state keep rising, restaurants would likely face new restrictions. COVID-19 is the disease the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus causes.

Cuomo, a Democrat, said during a press conference in Albany the number of hospitalizations still hasn’t stabilized as of Friday, and starting next Monday, indoor dining will be suspended in the city.

“Hospitalizations have not stabilized, and with a rising infection rate and NYC’s density, this means that indoor dining is too high of a risk,” the governor said, adding that takeout, delivery, and outdoor dining will still be allowed to continue.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Twitter he fully supports Cuomo’s decision to ban indoor dining, amid the second wave of CCP virus cases hitting the city.

The mayor also added he is aware many restaurant owners are struggling, but that officials “can’t allow this virus to reassert itself in our city.”

“I feel tremendous empathy for restaurant owners,” de Blasio said during a press briefing at City Hall. “We want them to survive, we need them to survive.”

Cuomo said during the conference that as of Friday, 5,321 people were hospitalized statewide, while 1,668 patients are currently in New York City hospitals.

Public health experts have repeatedly said that indoor dining—particularly in small, crowded restaurants where individuals are drinking and can take off masks when not eating—poses a risk for airborne transmission. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently described indoor dining as “high risk.”

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio speaks to firefighters following the donation of meals on International Firefighters Day in New York City, on May 4, 2020. (Bryan Thomas/Getty Images)

The governor’s order came despite opposition from the beleaguered restaurant industry, which warned of holiday season layoffs at a time when the federal government has yet to pass additional CCP virus relief package.

Andrew Rigie, the executive director of the NYC Hospitality Alliance, said these restrictions on indoor dining “will be the last straw for countless more restaurants and jobs.”

“The restrictions begin on Monday with zero economic support for small businesses that are already struggling to survive,” the director said.

According to a survey conducted by the New York State of Politics, 54 percent of restaurants in the state do not expect to survive the next six months without some form of federal relief.

“Since March, our members have been sounding the alarm that without sufficient governmental relief, New York restaurants will not make it through the pandemic,” Melissa Fleischut, the president and CEO of New York Restaurant Association, said.

People eat outside of LENA Winebar as restaurants are permitted to offer al fresco dining as part of phase 2 reopening during COVID-19 outbreak in the Lower East Side neighborhood of Manhattan in New York City, N.Y., on June 27, 2020. (Andrew Kelly/Reuters)

Officials began allowing indoor dining in some regions outside of New York City in June, and Cuomo allowed indoor dining at 25 percent capacity in the city on Sept. 30. In other parts of the state, restaurants are allowed to have half their tables filled.

“Yes, there will be an economic hardship from 25 percent to 0, but we have compensated in other ways,” the governor said. “This is a situation that has affected every business community, not just restaurants.”

‘Absolutely Devastating’

Restaurant workers and others hold a protest
Restaurant workers and others hold a protest outside the office of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s office in New York City, N.Y., on Sept. 28, 2020. (Timothy A. Clary/AFP via Getty Images)

Many restaurateurs have also expressed their concerns previously if further restrictions get confirmed in the city.

“I’m very angry. I’m very upset. You know, we’re a big company, we have restaurants all over the world, so we’re probably going to survive this. But how about the smaller restaurants? They probably can’t survive,” Peter Guimaraes of BICE told CBS New York.

Another restaurateur told the network another shutdown would be “absolutely devastating for our local restaurants and workers.”

“We can’t continue to get shutdown without being supported,” said Rigie, who represents 2,500 of the city’s 24,000 eateries.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.