Cuomo Reinstates City's Indoor Dining Ban

Growing hospitalization rates in New York concern governor, de Blasio
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 11, 2020 4:05 PM CST
Cuomo Reinstates City's Indoor Dining Ban
Wade Hagenbart lifts plastic piping for a tent while building a winter shelter last week for patrons of Guero's, the taco and margarita restaurant he co-owns in Brooklyn's Prospect Heights neighborhood.   (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

Rising hospitalization and coronavirus positivity rates have triggered a shutdown on indoor dining at New York City restaurants, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Friday. The ban will take effect Monday, WNBC reports. Mayor Bill de Blasio acknowledged that the suspension of indoor dining will be painful, saying resumption last month brought back 100,000 jobs. "I feel tremendous empathy for restaurant owners, a lot of them are mom-and-pop businesses, we want them to survive," de Blasio said. "At the same time, these numbers don't lie. For the first time unfortunately all three of our indicators are past their thresholds. That's a second wave. We have to fight it back to save lives." Calling the restriction unfair when restaurants upstate—where hospitalization rates are higher—can stay open, an industry group said in a statement, "It will be the last straw for countless more restaurants and jobs."

Cuomo asked for help from Washington. "The federal government must provide relief to these bars and restaurants in this next package," he said Friday, per the New York Times. Cuomo also made changes in his plan for winter, adjusting his model and metrics to focus on keeping hospitals from filling up. A projection that any area will hit 90% hospital capacity within 21 days, for example, will trigger a red zone shutdown. That would shut all nonessential businesses, schools and restaurant table service there indefinitely. At the moment, hospitalization rates are rising quickly, climbing every day in the city since a new metric took effect Monday. "We've been holding the line up til now, but this is a sign the hospitalization issue is becoming a bigger challenge—and one that we're going to have to confront," de Blasio said. "This is the ultimate cause for concern," the governor said. (More coronavirus stories.)

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