Expressing sympathy for the "economic pressure" that New York City restaurants have been under for the several months of lockdown, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Wednesday that they can reopen for indoor dining starting September 30, so long as they follow an extensive list of government requirements:
- Restaurants may only seat at 25% capacity
- No bar seating
- All tables spaced six feet apart
- Facility must close by midnight
- Diners must have temperatures taken before entering
- All customers must wear a mask when not seated
- One member of each party must provide contact information for the purpose of contact tracing
- Restaurants must meet new air filtration requirements
To enforce the new measures, Cuomo is empowering a new state task force along with an additional 400 city code enforcement inspectors. The governor has also asked for the help of the public in reporting lack of compliance by calling or texting a specific phone number.
The governor reminded citizens that the new policy could be short-lived.
"I believe in New Yorkers. Trust is reciprocal. They trusted me, I trust them," Cuomo said, adding, "if there is a spike in infection rate, we can always hit the emergency pause button."