Restaurants are embracing the news that indoor dining can return to New York City on September 30, but they’ll have to abide by a number of limitations, including a 25 percent capacity rule.
While this is a welcome start, restaurants are still in dire need of support.
“Even when restaurants could operate at 100 percent occupancy pre-pandemic, it was extremely difficult to survive. That’s why we still need support from the federal government, state government, city government, for all of these different policies to help these business owners,” Andrew Rigie, executive director of the NYC Hospitality Alliance, told NY1.
“I mean, 25 percent or 50 percent, that’s not going to be the fix, but it’s a start on the right path,” he said.
Should things go smoothly, the 25 percent capacity rule could be bumped up to 50 percent in November, according to Governor Cuomo. But if the opposite occurs, the city could lose the privilege altogether.
For now, restaurants are at least glad to have a plan in motion.
“It’s a roadmap. One step forward is better than standing still or going backwards,” said Rigie.
“Of course people wanted 50 percent capacity, but you know what, you have to start somewhere. One thing that we’ve heard over and over again from restauranteurs is that you need a plan; they need to be able to plan what do you tell your employees, how much food do you purchase, so there’s all these calculations that go in,” he said.
Rigie said it’s important to ensure that restaurants abide by the guidelines so restrictions can continue to be lifted.
In addition to the 25 percent capacity rule for indoor dining, restaurants must set tables six feet apart, ensure mask compliance and collect contact information from one person per table. They must also close by midnight.