New York Gov Andrew Cuomo has lifted almost all micro-cluster zone restrictions in the state as a result of declining positivity and hospitalization rates but he is still not letting New York City restaurants resume indoor dining.
Cuomo on Wednesday lifted restrictions on all but five yellow and orange cluster zones across the state. Four of the yellow zones that still apply are in the New York City boroughs of Queens and the Bronx.
Indoor and outdoor dining is permitted in the yellow micro-cluster zone with some minor restrictions, including only four people per table.
Despite this, Cuomo says NYC restaurants can’t yet open because it’s a ‘city-specific’ issue.
New York Gov Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday lifted almost all micro-cluster zone restrictions in the state as a result of declining positivity and hospitalization rates but he is not letting New York City restaurants resume indoor dining for now
He vowed to release a plan specific for NYC restaurants by the end of the week and said it involved reopening indoor dining at 25 percent capacity.
Cuomo did not elaborate on when that would actually be able to occur.
‘I fully understand how difficult it is that they’re closed, not just for the restaurants but all the people who are employed there. On the flip side is how fast this virus can take off,’ Cuomo said.
‘But we’ll have a plan by the end of the week.’
The statewide positivity rate is currently 5.4 percent. Total COVID-19 hospitalizations across the state are at 8,771.
Indoor dining was banned in NYC in mid-December just two months after it was finally allowed to resume.
The state is reviewing the 10pm curfew for bars and restaurants in New York.
‘When you keep the restaurants open late, that tends to be more problematic,’ Cuomo said.
Cuomo on Wednesday lifted restrictions on all but five yellow and orange cluster zones across the state. Four of those yellow zones that still apply are in the New York City boroughs of Queens and the Bronx
Indoor dining was banned in NYC in mid-December just two months after it was finally allowed to resume. Pictured above is outdoor dining in Manhattan
Indoor and outdoor dining is permitted in the yellow micro-cluster zone with some minor restrictions, including only four people per table. Despite this, Cuomo says NYC restaurants can’t yet open because it’s a ‘city-specific’ issue
‘There tends to be more crowding. There tends to be more drinking. And with restaurants, we’re trying to keep it to actual eating as opposed to the restaurant turning into a bar.’
The New York City Hospitality Alliance, who threatened to file a lawsuit against Cuomo, said: ‘We’re happy that Governor Cuomo heard the voice of New York City’s decimated restaurant industry and we look forward to working towards a plan that hopefully reopens indoor dining soon.
‘As the Governor acknowledged, it’s paramount these decisions are based on data. And, because New York City has lower infection and hospitalization rates than nearly all counties in the rest of the state where indoor dining is open at 50 percent occupancy, our city’s restaurants must be treated equitably and reopened safely.
‘Highly regulated, limited occupancy indoor dining has been a minor factor for virus transmission and full shutdowns have exacerbated the current economic crisis, which has permanently shuttered thousands of restaurants and bars and put over 140,000 people out of work in our city.’
The cluster zones, which have been in place across the state for several months, apply different rules for schools, businesses, mass gatherings and places of worship depending on how high the positivity and hospitalization rates are there.
No red zones, which had the strictest lockdown rules, have existed in months.
As a result of Cuomo’s restrictions being lifted, there are now no orange zones, which prohibited indoor dining among other things.
The only zones that remain are four in New York City including two in the Bronx, one in Washington Heights and one in Queens. There is also one yellow zone in Newburgh.
The restrictions still apply in those areas because of their high hospitalizations and weekly case growth, according to Cuomo.
‘I think at this point it’s safe to say the holiday surge was anticipated, the holiday surge did happen, but the holiday surge is over,’ Cuomo said.
It comes after Cuomo said President Biden’s Covid vaccination plans are ‘not enough’ to keep up with New York’s demand where they are already running out of shots.
Biden said Tuesday that the government will increase distributions around the country by around 15 to 16 per cent each week thanks to a new supply of 200million doses.
Cuomo said, however, that the ramp up will not make much difference in New York because the state is already so efficient at administering the shots that they will still be left empty-handed.
He said in an interview with MSNBC: ‘Is 16 percent going to make the difference for those states that can administer the vaccines at a higher rate? No.’
Cuomo said the state is ‘basically out of vaccine today, we’re functionally out’.
He added: ‘We are not going to have enough vaccine for months unless the new Biden administration can figure out how to ramp it up. This is a production issue.’