Better move up your dinner plans: bars and restaurants in New York State must close by 10p starting Friday, part of new restrictions Governor Cuomo announced Wednesday meant to prevent a second wave of COVID-19.
The governor’s new restrictions will also force gyms to close at 10p and limit indoor gatherings to 10 people, so you can also forget about hosting dinner parties in your apartment if that was something you somehow thought was a good idea. But that doesn’t mean you can’t patronize your favorite neighborhood restaurants: curbside pickup for food only will be allowed after 10p.
The news is another blow to the city’s food and beverage industry that has been walloped by the pandemic, even as many pivoted to outdoor dining to try to stay afloat.
The city is definitely seeing a surge in cases: The seven-day average positive testing rate was at 2.52 percent, and the average number of new cases has climbed to the highest it’s been since late May, with big clusters on Staten Island.
The governor did not provide any contact tracing data that linked the latest rash of outbreaks to gyms or outdoor restaurants, but a Cuomo spokesperson tweeted an explanation that three things were in play:
A few different threads:
1. Keeps NYS in line with neighboring states (so folks don’t come to NY from NJ/CT after their bars close around that time).
2. Bars/restaurants get crowded later, people drink more & distance less
3. Fewer hours = less time for COVID transmission
— Jack Sterne (@JRSterne) November 11, 2020
Asked for clarification, he shared a link to a New York Times story that said limiting indoor capacity — but not necessarily outdoor dining — can reduce COVID transmission significantly. Indoor dining is currently still allowed at 25 percent capacity.
It’s unclear how long these new restrictions will last. So drink up and eat up while you can to support your local businesses — just do it early.