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Restaurants in Queens COVID-19 Hot Spots See Restrictions Lifted, But Not South Brooklyn

With cases stabilizing in the affected neighborhood, Gov. Andrew Cuomo has lifted some restrictions

The exterior of shops along a tudor-style street
Affected parts of Queens like Forest Hills are all now in the yellow zone
Kits Pix/Shutterstock

Following a two-week-long shutdown on indoor and outdoor dining, restaurants in parts of Queens — in neighborhoods like Forest Hills, Kew Gardens, Rego Park, and Far Rockaway — will be able to resume service tomorrow, but with some restrictions still in place, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced.

The hardest hits parts of Brooklyn, however, will not see those restrictions lifted yet.

Affected parts of Queens will move entirely to the yellow zone, where indoor and outdoor dining are both allowed, but with a limit of four people per table. Ozone Park, a new neighborhood, has been added to the yellow zone after an uptick in cases there. Cuomo also announced several new indicators Wednesday that would allow the different affected areas to transition out of zones based on the coronavirus positivity rate.

For an urban cluster area to exit the strictest red zone, it would need to maintain a positivity rate below 3 percent for 10 days, Cuomo said. To remove orange zone restrictions, positivity would need to stay under two percent, while yellow zone limits will remain until the rate falls below 1.5 percent.

Meanwhile parts of South Brooklyn that were in the red zone like Borough Park and Midwood will continue to see those restrictions remain in place for now, but Brooklyn neighborhoods that were previously in the orange zone like Sunset Park and Brighton Beach, will move to the less restrictive yellow zone.

After a spike in COVID-19 cases toward the end of September, the state announced a zoned shutdown order for parts of Brooklyn and Queens. Restaurants located within the red zone were restricted to takeout only, while those in the orange and yellow zones could do a mix of indoor and outdoor dining, depending on the zone, but with fewer diners at each table than in the rest of the city.

The statewide test positivity rate is now 1.42 percent, per Cuomo, excluding red zones. That same rate in the red zone across the state is 6.61 percent.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo shows a slide detailing the rules for exiting a COVID-19 microcluster
Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s guidelines for exiting a COVID-19 microcluster

Following the two-week-long shutdown that got underway on October 8, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Tuesday that the cases had leveled off and that the citywide coronavirus positivity rate was holding steady at about 2.52 percent and the seven-day rolling average was remaining at about 1.58 percent — both good signs according to the Mayor.