New York Governor Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday announced new restrictions on restaurants, bars and gyms as his state struggles to contain new peaks of coronavirus.
“Any establishment with a state liquor license, including bars and restaurants, must close” for an in-person dinner at 10 p.m. starting Friday night, Cuomo said.
Restaurants can still prepare food for delivery and take-out after 10 p.m. as directed by the governor.
“The reason we have been successful in reducing the spread in New York is that we have had a head start on Covid,” the governor said. “You know where it’s going; stop him before he arrives. And you know where it’s going by following the science. “
Currently in New York City, restaurants are allowed to open their dining areas alfresco until 11 p.m. and indoors – at only 25% of capacity – until midnight.
“Today’s news is a blow to the restaurant industry which is desperately trying to stay afloat,” said Melissa Fleischut, president and CEO of the New York State Restaurant Association. “Our members have procedures and protocols in place to mitigate the spread, and we will continue to do so to ensure the safety of our employees and customers. ”
The group called on Cuomo to take a more targeted approach and crack down only on areas with Covid-19 hot spots.
“We understand the logic behind the micro-cluster restrictions, but for now we are concerned about general statewide restrictions like this,” Fleischut said.
Cuomo’s Wednesday decree includes gyms, which are now due to close at 10 p.m., starting Friday.
In addition, Cuomo ordered that all “indoor gatherings at private residences” be limited to a maximum of 10 people.
Currently, the interior limit of a private residence is 50.
“If you look at where the cases are coming from, if you do the contact tracing, you will see that they come from three main areas: establishments where alcohol is served, gymnasiums and indoor gatherings in private homes.” , Cuomo said.
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, who bickers frequently with Cuomo, appeared to support Albany’s plan here, as he tweeted: “In New York, bars, restaurants and gyms will close every day at 10 pm, starting this Friday. This is what must happen to help hold back a second wave in our city. “
Cuomo’s orders come weeks before the Thanksgiving holiday, for which public health officials have urged large family gatherings at home.