NYC expands restaurant dining capacity

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Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and Governor Phil Murphy today
announced that New York City and New Jersey will expand indoor dining capacity
to 50 percent beginning March 19.

Currently, New York City and New Jersey restaurants are
operating at 35 percent capacity and the rest of New York State is operating at
50 percent capacity. This follows Governor Cuomo’s announcement that
restaurants outside of New York City will expand to 75 percent capacity
beginning March 19.

“In New York State, our decisions are based on science
and data and we are encouraged by the continued decline in infection and
hospitalization rates,” Governor Cuomo said. “In partnership with the
State of New Jersey, we are expanding our indoor dining openings in New York
City to 50 percent. We will continue to follow the science and react
accordingly. If we keep the infections down and vaccinations up, we will
continue to stay ahead in the footrace against this invisible enemy and reach
the light at the end of the tunnel together.”

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy said, “In New Jersey, we will continue to move deliberately, responsibly and incrementally, guided by public health data. We feel confident in this step given the improving metrics we have seen over the last several weeks in both New Jersey and New York City, as well as the continued ramp up of our vaccination program. Our states will continue to work together to protect the health of as many residents as possible.”

NYC Hospitality Alliance also welcomed the news. “While city
restaurants may not increase occupancy to 75% like restaurants are safely doing
throughout the rest of the state, it is still welcome news to the battered
restaurant industry,” said Andrew Rigie, executive director of the Alliance.

“Cautiously and safely increasing indoor dining capacity at
New York City restaurants to 50 percent, with an eye toward expanding in the
future, more vaccinations, and dedicated restaurant relief on its way from the
federal government gives our industry some optimism among all the doom and
gloom of this past year.”

The capacity increases are part of both state’s continued
efforts to jump start their post-COVID recovery and reinvigorate the economy.

Since New York City indoor dining was reopened on February
12, two COVID-19 incubation periods have passed without any significant rise in
infection and hospitalization rates.

The expanded capacity is subject to strict guidance and
State officials will continue to reevaluate the data. New Jersey last expanded
indoor dining on February 5. During that time, the number of hospitalizations
in the state has dropped by over 1,000 and has remained consistent.

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