Will Indoor Dining End Next Week?


For weeks, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo had been warning New Yorkers about a rise in coronavirus cases and the dangers of gathering with friends and family during the holidays.


As hospitalizations increase, the governor on Monday announced new criteria to roll back reopening and restrict indoor dining.


"If you’re going to overwhelm the hospital system, then we have no choice but to go to close down."

Mr. Cuomo said at a news conference.


[ A revived ban on indoor dining would threaten many New York City restaurants.]


Here’s what you need to know about the state’s new plan:


The details

The plan includes limits on indoor dining in any region where hospitalization rates do not stabilize for five days.

The model could stop indoor dining in New York City as early as next Monday, Mr. Cuomo said. Other regions would have to decrease indoor dining capacity from 50 percent to 25 percent if their hospitalization rates do not stabilize. Mr. Cuomo did not provide a specific measure of what stabilization would look like.


Regions will be forced to shut down completely if they are projected to hit 90 percent of their total hospital capacity in the next three weeks. That means nonessential businesses would close, restaurants would be restricted to takeout or delivery, and nearly all gatherings would be prohibited.


A stop to indoor dining would be another blow to struggling restaurants as the weather gets colder and customers are less likely to want to eat outdoors.


The context

More than 4,600 people were hospitalized statewide, after a steady increase from about 1,000 in late October, Mr. Cuomo said on Monday.

In New York City, the seven-day rolling average rate of positive test results was 4.98 percent, according to Mayor Bill de Blasio.


Gov. Phil Murphy of New Jersey said at a news conference on Monday that the state was not planning to shut down indoor dining, which is capped at 25 percent capacity. Gov. Ned Lamont of Connecticut recently rolled back indoor dining capacity from 75 percent to 50 percent, according to Patch.


The precedent

When the city locked down in March, restaurants were confined to delivery and takeout, and they struggled to stay afloat.


The city slowly implemented “phases” to ease restrictions as virus cases declined.


Over the summer, the city’s popular outdoor dining program allowed restaurants to serve customers al fresco, and by late July, every region in the state was able to reach the fourth and final stage of reopening.

New York City was the last area to allow indoor dining, which resumed at 25 percent capacity in September.

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