It may come with numerous, strict restrictions, but N.Y. Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced that indoor dining may resume in New York City on Sept. 30. Among the conditions is a 25% occupancy limit, temperature checks, contact information for tracing, face coverings when not seated, no bar service and location closure by midnight. The state will continually monitor the positivity rate of Covid infection and will reassess as necessary. Additionally, the guidelines will be reassessed based on the data by Nov. 1 and if the infection rate does not increase, restaurants may be permitted to increase capacity to 50%.
On top of the rules, NYC will provide a team of 400 enforcement personnel to work with the State Police Task Force to ensure compliance. Restaurants must publicly post their 25% indoor dining capacity as well as the phone and text numbers to report violations. Customers who observe violations can report issues by calling 833-208-4160, or by texting ‘VIOLATION’ to 855-904-5036.
Guidance for Indoor Dining in New York City
- 25 percent occupancy limit
- Temperature checks will be required at the door for all customers
- One member of each party will be required to provide contact information for tracing if needed
- No bar service – bars will only be used as service bars, a source of making drinks and serving them tableside
- Masks must be worn at all times when not seated at a table
- Tables must be six feet apart
- Restaurants close at midnight
- Strict adherence to all State-issued guidance
- Restaurants should operate with enhanced air filtration, ventilation and purification standard
- Limit air recirculation and allow for outside air ventilation
- Outdoor dining will continue in the interim
While it’s a step in the right direction, not everyone had complimentary things to say about the governor’s order. In a GoFundMe for Jackbar, a pinball arcade bar in NYC, owner John Ehrlich lamented that this loosening up “doesn’t help most of us at all!” Among his comments, he said the requirements that locations post the numbers people can call or text to report violations for exceeding capacity limits is “for your rat neighbors, who hated you before this to rat you out whether you exceed it or not.”