Indoor Dining Ban in New York City as Virus Cases Rise

NEW YORK (AP) -
Kitchen workers in San Francisco prepare takeout, Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2020. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

A ban on indoor dining at New York City restaurants was enacted Monday by officials trying to slow the resurgence of the coronavirus.

The clampdown, announced last week by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, is a severe blow to a struggling industry that has made the city a culinary capital. New York City is home to roughly 24,000 restaurants, and owners warned of layoffs and closures if they are limited to takeout orders and outdoor dining this winter.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said Monday he sympathized with restaurant owners, but noted the rising number of cases and hospitalizations. More than 1,700 patients were hospitalized in the city this weekend with COVID-19 infections, almost triple the number a month ago.

“Unfortunately, with restaurants, they’re gathering indoors and they’re gathering without face coverings on because you’re eating and drinking. They are particularly sensitive,” de Blasio said on CNN. “Unfortunately, this is just one of a number of steps that I think are going to be needed. There’s going to be more restrictions after this.”

Cuomo had said he was trying to avoid a worst-case scenario with overwhelmed hospitals forcing a ban on both indoor and outdoor dining.