New York City indoor dining to resume starting on Valentine's Day

New York City restaurants can resume indoor dining at reduced capacity starting on Valentine's Day, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced on Friday.

Speaking from Albany on Friday, Cuomo said they will be allowed to open at 25% capacity.

Cuomo said he picked February 14 to give restaurants time to order supplies and contact and schedule staff to work.

Earlier this week, Cuomo said a plan was coming by the end of the week. At that time, he also announced he was eliminating the handful of remaining "orange zones" in the state outside New York City that kept a ban on indoor dining at restaurants. They can now operate at half capacity.

On March 16, Cuomo announced the first ban on indoor dining in a bid to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

Restaurants reopened in June. On Sept. 30, Cuomo allowed indoor dining to resume at 25 percent. On Dec. 14, indoor dining was banned again and has been ever since.

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Cuomo said the new rules would not ease the 10 p.m. closing time that restaurants have been operating under during the pandemic.

Outdoor dining and takeout operations were allowed to continue but restaurant owners said that wasn't enough to ensure their survival.

"I understand the situation on the restaurants in New York City and New York City obviously is in a different situation given the density, given crowding, and we're hyper-cautious in New York City," Cuomo said during a coronavirus briefing on Wednesday morning.

Cuomo also said the 50-person limit on wedding receptions is set to be raised to 150 people on March 15, as long as the venue remains at 50% capacity or under. The celebrations must be approved by the local health department, and everybody who attends needs to take a COVID-19 test, according to the governor.

"Promise of marital bliss is returning," Cuomo said.

With The Associated Press