Indoor dining was originally part of Phase Three of NYC's coronavirus reopening; however, Mayor Bill de Blasio and Governor Andrew Cuomo held off on allowing it, citing concerns on how it could exacerbate the spread of the virus. As colder weather approaches that would make outdoor dining less feasible, though, and while COVID-19 cases in NYC remain relatively low, Cuomo announced on Wednesday (9/9) that indoor dining will be allowed to resume in the city, with major restrictions, starting on Wednesday, September 30.

Restaurants will be limited to 25% of their usual capacity for indoor dining, Cuomo says, and diners will be subject to rules including temperature checks at the door and mandatory mask wearing while not seated at a table. Restaurants will not be able to provide bar service, or service after midnight, and there will be enhanced standards for air filtration, ventilation, and purification. They'll also have to keep tables six feet apart.

"We have seen clusters outbreak from restaurants, so that was the reason for caution," Cuomo, speaking from an Albany press conference, said. "We’ve been working on this issue every day and we're now announcing today that we can go to 25% of indoor dining with certain restrictions that will be enacted on September 30."

New Jersey recently began allowing indoor dining, movie theaters, and 'indoor performance venues' to reopen, with 25% capacity restrictions at each.