When asked about the return of indoor dining in NYC, Mayor de Blasio made a statement at his daily press briefing on Monday, August 31, which didn’t sound too promising :
“Is there a way where we can do something safely with indoor dining? So far, we have not had that moment, honestly, we’ve been really straight forward about it. We have not had the opportunity to do it safely.
“I’ve talked to a lot of restaurant owners as well. I think some are in really tough shape. I think others, because of take-out, delivery, outdoor dining, are going to be in a position to keep going for a while.
“I do expect – I pray for and expect – a vaccine in the spring – that will allow us all to get more back to normal. But I will absolutely tell you, we’re going to keep looking for that situation where we can push down the virus enough where we would have more ability to address indoor dining.
“But it would take a huge step forward to get to that point, that’s the truth.”
Governor Cuomo seconded these dire sentiments with his comments on indoor dining … though they were not quite as dire as the Mayor’s.
“We’re coming into Labor Day; Labor Day will see more people going back to school … that is a factor we have to watch. We’re coming into the fall … flu season. Flu season is a factor that we have to watch. I’m very aware of the balance. I’m aware that the restaurants in New York City are unhappy with doing no indoor dining, I understand the economic consequences. I understand their argument will be exacerbated when they say New Jersey can go to 25%, and it is something we are watching and we are considering. I want as much economic activity as quickly as possible; we also want to make sure the transmission rate stays under control.”
Cuomo wrapped up his comments by stating that it’s up to the State (not the City) to decide when indoor dining returns.
Outdoor dining is currently approved to last through October 31st. While the Mayor mentioned he may extend this, it’s hard to imagine people bundling up to eat outside in November. Outdoor dining is also scheduled to return on June 1, 2020.
Indoor dining was originally expected to return to the City on July 6, with the commencement of Phase 3. However, this was with the caveat that all indicators were on track, and unfortunately, they were not. At the beginning of July, it was first concluded that indoor dining would be postponed indefinitely.
Upper West Side restaurants have been struggling, and unfortunately, closings have shown no signs of slowing down.