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Washington Heights, Staten Island Hit With New Restaurant Restrictions Amid COVID-19 Surge

Gov. Cuomo followed through with plans announced over the weekend to create new zoned shutdown zones in the city

Several medium rise buildings and green trees are seen in the foreground with the George Washington Bridge in the background
Restaurants in Washington Heights are now in a yellow zone
Gregory James Van Raalte/Shutterstock

Gov. Andrew Cuomo followed through with warnings issued over the weekend and created new zoned shutdown areas in parts of Upper Manhattan and Staten Island after a spike in COVID-19 in these neighborhoods.

In Manhattan, the state has created a yellow zone that starts at West 187th Street in Washington Heights and stretches south to about West 135th Street in Hamilton Heights. Restaurants in this part of town will now be limited to serving four people per table both indoors and outdoors, with takeout and delivery continuing as usual. The state didn’t immediately provide the positivity rate for this focus area, but according to city data, the COVID-19 positivity rate on a seven-day average ranges from 2.6 to 3.97 percent for ZIP codes within this zone.

The restrictions are tougher for the southern part of Staten Island. Here, neighborhoods including Tottenville, Great Kills, and Bay Terrace have all been moved to an orange zone, meaning restaurants will only be allowed to serve customers outdoors, along with takeout and delivery. In some of the focus areas, such as Great Kills, the positivity rate on a seven-day average sits at 7.16 percent, according to city data. The other half of Staten Island is currently in a yellow zone.

As of Monday, the citywide positivity rate was at 3.06 percent on a seven-day rolling average, according to the mayor’s office, and some other parts of the city are in yellow zones as well, including a sliver of South Brooklyn, large parts of Queens, and parts of the Bronx.

While public health officials have questioned the efficacy of keeping indoor dining open while schools remain closed, Cuomo has continually voiced his preference for a zoned shutdown approach with minimal business disruption where possible. Still, with cases rising citywide and across the country, officials believe an indoor dining ban could come as early as next week.