Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Sunday that restaurants outside of New York City, which have been operating at 50% capacity, can now move to 75% capacity starting March 19.
He says the data has shown that restaurants can operate safely and in accordance with strict health protocols at 75% capacity. New York City restaurant capacity will remain at 35% capacity.
"Our fight in the war against COVID-19 continues, but we are encouraged by the decrease in infection and hospitalization rates and the rise in vaccinations," Cuomo said. "As we expand our vaccine distribution and celebrate the arrival of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, we have never been closer to defeating this beast once and for all. It is critical that New Yorkers not succumb to COVID fatigue and remain vigilant.”
Cuomo said State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker added a caveat between now and March 19: if there is a change in the numbers, the state may have to adjust those restaurant capacities.
The governor says that with the new law that the legislature passed recently, state lawmakers have five days to review the change and he says his administration will discuss it with any members of the legislature or local governments who have issues. Cuomo noted the state legislature has the ability to cancel the order with 50% of the vote.