Indoor dining will be allowed to resume in New York City on Sept. 30, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday, meaning that thousands of restaurants in the five boroughs have three weeks to prepare their establishments to comply with the state’s guidance for reopening.
Under the state’s new rules, restaurants will have to screen patrons at the door and install enhanced air filtration systems that can prevent the virus from being recirculated.
"Opening restaurants, I understand the economic benefit and the economic pressure they've been under," Cuomo said.
Restaurants will conduct no-contact temperature checks at the door, and require individuals to leave their contact information if there’s an outbreak of the virus at that establishment. Bar service will not be allowed, and restaurants will be required to close at midnight.
When restaurants open later this month, they’ll have to limit capacity to 25%. Cuomo said the state will monitor the infection rate in the city and decide if the capacity limit should be raised to 50% at the start of November.
Masks will be required at all times, except when seated. Air circulation will also be limited at restaurants to avoid any spread of the coronavirus.
If bars and restaurants don’t comply with their rules, they’ll risk losing their license to operate, Cuomo said.
“This is not an issue you want to fool around with. It is not worth the risk,” Cuomo said. “If you lose your license, that’s months of being out of business — assuming you can get the license back.”
Earlier in the day, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio had said city officials were still in talks with Cuomo’s office about resuming indoor dining. Cuomo said he’d discussed the issue with de Blasio and other city officials up until his announcement Wednesday afternoon.