With caution and under the rules set by the authorities, New York restaurants reopen for their customers. The decision to expand to 50% will come on November 1 if the rate of coronavirus contagion remains low in the Big Apple.
A day after 350 restaurant owners filed a lawsuit in court against Governor Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio over the economic damage caused by the closure of indoor services in restaurants, the state government opened its hand.
Governor Cuomo announces the reopen of New York restaurants
Cuomo announced on Wednesday that from September 30, meals can be offered inside restaurants although only 25% of the capacity to seat diners can be reached. These are the rules imposed by COVID-19 in a city where contagions have been reduced but in which 32,612 lives have been lost, according to data from The New York Times for the disease.
Capacity reduction is one of many restrictions that will be placed on the owners of one of the economic areas that imprint the personality of the city and sustain thousands of jobs. But it is one of the hardest as most restaurants operate with very low margins even when they are at full capacity. The landscape of tables glued to each other in many small restaurants is very particular of this city.
News of this opening came after De Blasio explained at his daily press conference on Wednesday that he would have news to give about her in a week. Hours later Cuomo broke this agenda and broke the news.
Despite the confusing situation, the Mayor said in a statement that work has been done with the State and Health Managers to design and plan how it opens. In reference to the conditions for this opening, De Blasio explained that the scene of the indoor canteens
“is not going to look like the one we know and love but progress is being made for restaurant workers and New Yorkers.“
For opening, not only will the capacity of the restaurants be limited to one quarter, but the temperature of the customers will also be taken at the entrance, and the test data and those necessary to trace at least one of the customers at each table will have to be had. Tables must be at least six feet away from each other and employees have to have PPE to protect themselves from coronavirus.
Diners will need to wear masks if they are not at their tables and will not be able to make use of the bar if there is one. In fact, the opening of the restaurants does not arrive accompanied by that of the bars. These still don’t have the green light to open their doors.
Although Cuomo was not precise, re-resing in this controlled opening could occur if contagions in the city rise. It was explained from the Mayor’s Day that if the percentage of positives in the tests reaches 2%, the situation will be retied.
New York has been in a row for 33 days with an infection rate below 1%. However, Cuomo is concerned that after the Labor Day festivities last weekend there may be a peak. The World Health Organization recommends a ratio below 5%.
If the current control over COVID-19 is maintained with the partial opening of restaurants — something that almost coincides with the start of face-to-face classes (September 21) in schools – the step forward can be made to allow a capacity of 50%. How much will make that decision on November 1.
March to normal
Thus begins the march towards relative normalization in the sector of restaurants that have been closed to the public for six months and barely open for meal deliveries and collections. The limited opening, which was planned in early summer, was cancelled and instead cut streets were proposed in the city and more spaces on the sidewalks to allow outdoor service, so-called very popular terraces in Southern Europe. It’s unsustainable when temperatures drop or the days bring rain.
How much has delayed the opening of restaurants because the normalization, in phases, of these has been associated with outbreaks of the virus.
New York City is the last in the state to open its food places. It is something that has led to the exasperation of many restaurant owners who lamented that in the rest of the state, even in the counties bordering those of the city, there was indoor service in the restaurants.
Andrew Rigie, executive director of the NYC Hospitality Alliance on Wednesday, explained that the restaurant industry has been financially devastated by the pandemic “and a safe return to indoor activities is critical to saving small businesses and jobs.”
“We are grateful to Governor Cuomo for the announcement of the return of meals inside as an agenda for future expansion. Restaurants are essential to New York’s economy and the social and economic fabric.”
Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce President Randy Peers said this move is a step in the right direction to protect more than 5,500 restaurants whose concern is to survive the winter. However, Peers said 25% capacity is not going to be a viable solution for every restaurant in Brooklyn.
At a recent conference with restaurants, some of them complained of losing summer and tourism, all crushed by COVID-19. His hope was placed in an opening inside during the winter months before the New Year’s Eve festivities, one of the most important moments in terms of clientele and revenue for this industry.
If you see anything, say something
Ensuring that the gradual opening regulations are met and meeting the safety requirements is everyone’s job again.
Governor Andrew Cuomo wants all restrictions imposed on the opening to be respected and in addition to the State Liquor Authority and state police will join the city’s inspector surveillance forces. These are about 400 people who are inspectors in the area of health, environment, NYPD and other departments.
But he has also called for citizens to report violations with anonymous calls. “We want New Yorkers to be part of the solution”, he said. Customers can call about possible violations to have an inspector person at 833-208-4160 or text 855-904-5036.
The authorities are taking the restrictions very seriously and more than 100 licenses are already being suspended in the city for not following the restricted opening regulations.