Cheers! Cuomo to lift COVID curfew for restaurants, allowing bar seating in NYC

ALBANY — Raise a glass and get ready to grab a seat at a bar near you.

Gov. Cuomo announced Wednesday that pandemic era curfew placed on restaurants will be lifted in mid-May and drinkers can saddle up to the bar in the Big Apple beginning next week.

The current midnight closing time outdoor dining areas will expire on May 17. The indoor dining curfew will come to an end on May 31.

Catered events whose attendees can prove they’ve been vaccinated or COVID negative will also be lifted on May 17. For all other catered events, the curfew expires May 31.

Bar seating can resume in the city on May 3.

“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 in a statement. “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.”

The changes come a day after Democrats in the Legislature announced they would be rolling back several of the governor’s COVID restrictions, including a controversial measure mandating food be purchased when ordering an alcoholic beverage at a bar or restaurant.

Dems plan to vote on the measure later Wednesday.

Cuomo’s fellow Dems dialed back his emergency pandemic powers last month as the governor became embroiled in multiple scandals and several women, including current and former staffers, accused the embattled executive of sexual harassment.

Cuomo has slowly rolled back some restrictions on restaurants in recent months as COVID rates dropped, but tavern owners and critics have called on him to speed up reopening as the industry struggles to recover.

“New York City’s restaurants and bars have been financially devastated by Covid-19 restrictions and it’s great news that the state will finally undo the barstool ban and lift the arbitrary midnight curfew,” said Andrew Rigie, executive director of the NYC Hospitality Alliance. “These outdated policies made it too difficult for too many small business owners and workers to support themselves and their families, and were a grave inconvenience to customers.”

Melissa Fleischut, president and CEO of the New York State Restaurant Association, applauded the new changes.

“We thank the state for listening to our request for a reopening plan, bringing New York in line with many of our neighbors,” she said. “With vaccinations going up and positivity rates going down, the hospitality industry can set our sights on rebounding this spring and summer as we scratch and claw our way back to profitability, which for many has seemed impossible.”

Source (Ny Daily news)

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