Cuomo to lift curfew for dining, seating at bars to resume in NYC

Restaurants will be allowed to stay open for regular operating hours and seating will be allowed at bars in New York City beginning next month, announced Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Currently, as part of COVID-related restrictions, food and beverage service must end at midnight. The curfew will be lifted for outdoor dining areas beginning May 17 and for indoor dining areas beginning May 31.

In a press release distributed Wednesday, Cuomo announced that starting May 3, seating at bars will be allowed in New York City, consistent with the food services guidance that is in effect statewide.

"We know the COVID positivity rate is a function of our behavior, and over the last year New Yorkers have remained disciplined and continued with the practices we know work to stop the spread of the virus," Cuomo said.

"Everything we've been doing is working - all the arrows are pointing in the right direction and now we're able to increase economic activity even more. Lifting these restrictions for restaurants, bars and catering companies will allow these businesses that have been devastated by the pandemic to begin to recover as we return to a new normal in a post-pandemic world.

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The governor also announced that the 1 a.m. curfew for catered events where attendees have provided proof of vaccination status or a recent negative COVID-19 test result will be lifted beginning May 17.

The curfew for all catered events will be lifted on May 31. 

Catered events can also resume at private homes beginning May 3 despite the State's limit of 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors. The event must be staffed by a professional, licensed caterer, permitted by the respective locality or municipality, and strictly adhere to health and safety guidance, including social and event gathering limits, masks, and social distancing.

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Also on May 3, the guidance for dancing among attendees at catered events will be aligned with neighboring states, replacing fixed dance zones for each table with social distancing and masks.

"To be clear: we will only be able to maintain this progress if everyone gets the COVID vaccine. It is the weapon that will will the war and we need everyone to take it, otherwise we risk going backward."