NEW YORK - New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced that he will be extending the time that restaurants can have indoor service by an hour, to midnight and curfews for catered events will be extended to 1 a.m., beginning Monday, April 19.
"But at the same time, we caution New Yorkers: Don’t get cocky. The disease is still very much with us," Cuomo said.
The news has received a mixed reaction from restaurants in New York City as the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic continues.
"An extra hour is not going to make or break anyone in the industry right now," said Benjamin Knop, owner of Numero 28 on the Upper East Side.
Restaurants in New York City were hit especially hard by the pandemic, with roughly 75% of restaurants in the city saying they lost at least half of their business in 2020 due to the pandemic.
"The extra hour is good news for restaurants, bars, and customers, but we still need a road map for when the curfew will be lifted like it has for other industries," said Andrew Rigie, the executive director of the NYC Hospitality Alliance, an industry group.
He also urged the state to stop prohibiting diners from being seated at restaurants' bars and to reconsider a requirement that patrons who order an alcoholic beverage get food with it.
"Right now in New York City, customers aren't even able to sit up at a bar to eat a meal, but they can sit six feet away at a table? It makes no sense," Rigie said.
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Restaurant owners also worry that being open an hour later will mean their workers will have a harder time getting home, since subways are not running 24 hours a day.
Weddings and other catered events will be allowed to run until 1 a.m. instead of midnight as of Monday, the Democratic governor said.
The governor also announced during a telephone briefing Wednesday that auto and horse racing events will be able to accommodate spectators at 20% capacity starting April 22. Spectators will be required to wear a mask, social distance, and provide proof of a recent negative test or completed vaccinations.
With the Associated Press.