Governor Cuomo has announced that indoor dining will be indefinitely suspended beginning on Monday, December 14, following increased COVID-19 positivity and hospitalization rates throughout the boroughs.
Indoor dining will close in New York City starting Monday.
Hospitalizations have not stabilized, and with a rising infection rate and NYC’s density, this means that indoor dining is too high of a risk.
Takeout, delivery and outdoor dining will continue.
— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) December 11, 2020
This does not come as much of a surprise, as the governor recently mentioned a suspension was likely on the horizon.
Since September 30, restaurants could offer indoor dining at a maximum capacity of 25%. But for many restaurant owners, especially those with a limited amount of interior space, it wasn’t enough to break even or stay in business.
While the short-lived allowance of indoor dining – along with other measures like an optional surcharge and the approval of year-round outdoor dining – have been intended to keep the industry alive, many restaurants continue to close.
While it’s unknown when indoor dining is likely to come back, as this is dependent on positivity and hospitalization rates, restaurants can continue to offer takeout, delivery and outdoor dining.
But when it comes to serving customers outside, many restaurants are struggling. While they’re allowed to use outdoor heaters, a December 8 report by Eater stated that less than 300 restaurants had gotten legal clearance to use propane.
The report stated that “… only 242 restaurants — or about 2.2 percent of the 10,800 restaurants certified for outdoor dining this year — were fully certified by November 15, a month after the fire department released its propane heater use regulations and opened up applications for permits.”
Restaurant owners who obtain the heaters at a later point in time will have lost a substantial number of days, and those who are currently equipped with them will have to hope they counteract the cold winds of the next few months.