On July 1, Mayor Bill de Blasio shelved plans to allow indoor dining at restaurants, due to a rise in cases associated with indoor restaurant openings in other parts of the country. Indoor dining was scheduled to begin that day, as part of the city’s transition to Phase Three of reopening.

Instead, the mayor touted an opportunity for the city to “double down” on outdoor dining. More than 6,000 restaurants have applied for the city’s Open Restaurants initiative, de Blasio said.

The NYC Hospitality Alliance, an advocate for bars and restaurants, said in light of the extended shutdown, the city needed to offer struggling eateries more financial help, including rent forgiveness.

“We respect the government and public health officials’ decision to postpone the anticipated July 6th reopening of indoor dining, but the longer neighborhood restaurants and bars are forced to be closed, the harder it will be for them to ever successfully reopen,” said Andrew Rigie, executive director of the NYC Hospitality Alliance.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy also axed plans to restart indoor dining, which was to set to begin July 2 in his state.

The decision was made in conjunction with Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who met with city officials to discuss the delay.

The governor couldn’t offer a timeframe for indoor reopening, attributing the decision to how well New Yorkers observed and the city enforced safety standards.

Cuomo said he made the decision because “citizen compliance is slipping.” Reopening is also affected by national infection rates, which need to stabilize, the governor said, noting the likelihood that outbreaks in other states would spread to the city.

“Whatever we do, chances are people from those 16 states are making their way here. That’s how we got infected the first time: People coming from Europe to our airports,” the governor said.

Cuomo rebuffed the use of AC filtration systems to reduce air recirculation and the spread of droplets carrying Covid-19. Filters would be an “added benefit,” he said, but they wouldn’t negate the inherent risks of indoor dining: crowd density, proximity to others and time spent inside.

Source: Crain’s New York Business

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