New York Daily News: MANHATTAN, NY – Instead of a Valentine’s Day return, New York City restaurants can start serving customers indoors beginning Friday, two days earlier than originally planned, the governor announced Monday.
Eateries in the Big Apple pleaded with Cuomo in recent days, asking him to allow them to open up dining rooms for the full weekend as the state’s COVID numbers continue to decline.
“We respond to the data, we respond to the facts that we face today. The facts may change tomorrow and then we will change with the facts,” the governor said during a remote briefing in Albany. “The enemy changes tactics, we adjust with the enemy. But the numbers are down now.”
The statewide positivity rates have dropped for a full month, Cuomo noted, and the number of people hospitalized, 7,716, is the lowest since Dec. 28. Another 114 New Yorkers died of the virus on Sunday.
Restaurants in the city have been barred from serving customers inside since mid-December, after a brief two-month reprieve in which the state allowed indoor dining in the five boroughs.
Relying on take-out and makeshift outdoor dining setups has devastated eateries across the city. Neighboring New Jersey recently increased indoor capacity to 35 percent, while upstate restaurants have been allowed to open at 50% for the most part since last summer.
While allowing dining inside to return to the city two days early, the governor has so far refused to lift a statewide 10 p.m. curfew that many restaurant groups have said is too early.