Indoor dining is shutting down again in NYC
After warning on Monday that he'd shut down indoor dining in NYC if the city's hospitalization rate continued to climb, NY Governor Andrew Cuomo has now done just that. "Indoor dining will close in New York City starting Monday [December 14]," he tweeted on Friday afternoon (12/11). "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. Takeout, delivery and outdoor dining will continue."
Indoor dining was allowed to resume in NYC, with restrictions, on September 30, but since then COVID cases have risen dramatically throughout the country as the "fall surge" experts warned of arrived. In November, NYC businesses with liquor licenses were given a 10 PM curfew for providing indoor service, but positive and hospitalization rates have continued to rise since then.
There is no current timeline for indoor dining to resume, and there may be more restrictions ahead. As NBC New York points out, Cuomo said that if the hospitals of any of the state's 10 regions are projected to hit 90% capacity over a three week period, a "red zone shutdown" would be put into place again, closing all nonessential businesses (outdoor dining included) and schools.
Mayor Bill de Blasio, asked on Friday about the effect that shutting down indoor dining would have on the city's businesses, said, "I feel tremendous empathy for restaurant owners, a lot of them are mom and pop businesses, we want them to survive. We need them to survive. At the same time, these numbers don't lie. For the first time unfortunately all three of our indicators are past their thresholds. That's a second wave. We have to fight it back to save lives. We have to fight it back to start our recovery."
Meanwhile, there's positive news on the COVID vaccine front, as emergency approval from the FDA is expected to come through this weekend for the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine. "346,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine are expected to be delivered to New York State the week of December 21," Cuomo tweeted, "in addition to the 170,000 Pfizer doses coming this weekend."