Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Friday that some indoor dining will return to New York City on Valentine’s Day.
“If positivity rates hold we will reopen indoor dining at 25% capacity on Valentine’s Day,” the governor tweeted. “In addition to reduced capacity, mandatory safety guidelines will be in place.”
Update on indoor dining in NYC:
If positivity rates hold we will reopen indoor dining at 25% capacity on Valentine's Day – February 14.
In addition to reduced capacity, mandatory safety guidelines will be in place.
— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) January 29, 2021
During Friday’s press briefing Cuomo said the city’s positivity rate fell to 4.9% from 7.1% in January. Statewide the positivity rate is 4.65%, which is the lowest since Dec. 11, according to Cuomo. Experts predict the downward trend to continue, according to Cuomo.
Cuomo said the state chose Valentine’s Day to reopen indoor dining because restaurants said they needed time to order supplies and prepare for a reopening.
And just in time for the big return, Cuomo also announced wedding receptions can return mid-March with up to 150 people.
“The promise of marital bliss is returning,” Cuomo said.
“Restaurants are open on Valentine’s Day. You could make a reservation now or plan dinner on Valentine’s Day, you propose on Valentine’s Day, and then you can have the wedding ceremony on March 15,” Cuomo suggested, noting “people will actually come to your wedding” as the state ramps up testing.Cuomo announced on Dec. 11 that he was shutting down indoor dining in the city following a rise in infection rates.
Cuomo, however, warned that should numbers surge, the state will have to take steps to keep the virus at bay.
“We make decisions based on facts, based on the numbers, New York City numbers down,” he said. “But facts change. It sounds inconsistent, we like to think a fact is always a fact. No, facts change. COVID facts change dramatically, and they change often.”
“If there are facts, and the facts change, we will have a different situation. One state response that is a given, if any area’s hospital capacity hits 85%, then we go back to restrictions.”
The ban prompted a group of restaurant and bar owners to file a class-action lawsuit against Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, arguing indoor dining is actually saving lives, according to The New York Post. The suit alleged people were being forced to gather inside households because indoor dining was prohibited, noting that data shows 74% of case transmission stems from household gatherings while less than 2% of transmission occurs from indoor dining, according to the report.
Data from Cuomo’s office showed restaurants and bars have led to only 1.4% of all COVID-19 cases in New York, according to Spectrum Local News.