Bars and restaurants no longer have to close at midnight across New York state, as its coronavirus curfew for indoor dining ended Monday.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced last month that the restriction would be lifted. With that, establishments can return to the closing times that their liquor licenses or other regulations allow.
A similar pandemic curfew for outdoor dining ended May 17, although some local governments have their own closing-time rules for outdoor tables.
Restaurateurs have been looking forward to the later hours as they try to recover from the shutdowns and other limitations on their business during the virus crisis.
Cuomo said in a release Monday that the curfew's end "is the result of New Yorkers banding together, practicing safety precautions and getting vaccinated, so we can defeat the virus and work our way towards a new normal."
New York's COVID-19 positivity rate has hit a new low. The statewide 7-day average positivity rate is now 0.67%. Hospitalizations have dropped to 1,032, the lowest since Oct. 24, and deaths were at 18 as of Monday.
Western New York's positivity rate is still higher than the statewide average, but low nonetheless. As of Monday, it was 1.03%. More than 690,000 people have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and about 587,000 are completely vaccinated.