After almost 6 months of trying times for the restaurant industry, Governor Cuomo has finally allowed indoor dining in NYC, albeit at 25% capacity, beginning September 30th. This permission is late to the game, considering the rest of NY state has had indoor dining since the mid-summer.
This new allowance may be a response to mounting pressure from struggling restaurant and small business owners to allow indoor dining. One owner even filed a lawsuit against Cuomo and De Blasio, questioning how indoor dining in his Queens restaurant was less safe than that of a restaurant just a block away in Nassau County.
Regardless, even at 25%, indoor dining is a game changer for restaurants throughout NYC. Firstly it allows more customers to be served at any given time, which provides much needed revenue. And because more customers will be present, owners will be able to re-hire a certain amount of workers that were furloughed during the crisis. Indoor dining also provides a safety net for the upcoming winter months, that previously terrified restaurant owners since outdoor dining will no longer be an option.
Assuming that the pandemic remains in its current state, indoor dining may reduce the amount of predicted restaurant closures over the coming months, but 25% capacity is likely not enough with colder temperatures coming.
Rules for indoor dining include: temperature checks, mask wearing when not seated, midnight closures, no bar service, and one individual per party must provide contact tracing info.