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Is NYC Hitting the State’s Restaurant Reopening Criteria Yet?

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Here’s your regularly updated check-in on how New York City is faring on the state’s reopening metrics

A window looking into a closed restaurants, where stools are on top of a table and a man with a mask is in the reflection.
A closed restaurant in NYC
Gary He/Eater

New York City started to reopen on Monday, June 8, roughly three months after the COVID-19 pandemic began to ravage the city’s economy, close its schools, and shutter its restaurants, killing over 17,000 in the process. The city met the state’s seven health-based criteria for reopening in early June, and outdoor dining will begin on Monday, June 22.

The city was the hardest-hit region of the state, and was the last to reopen. Construction, manufacturing, and curbside retail relaunched first in a limited phase one reopening.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the return of phase two outdoor dining in a press conference on June 18. Phase three indoor dining won’t begin until at least two weeks after that, accompanied by strict regulations that include limiting capacity to 50 percent. By these metrics, indoor dining won’t return until the week of July 6 at the earliest.

The state hasn’t issued strict criteria for moving from one phase to the next, but regional oversight teams, per Governor Andrew Cuomo’s office, will continue to monitor all seven health criteria including hospitalizations, deaths, and diagnostic testing. A particular focus will be the infection rate, which can be viewed via this early warning dashboard, and a separate chart that tracks positive test results by county.

The oversight teams will also monitor business compliance with opening guidelines, and can slow down or shut off reopenings if indicators are “problematic.” Cuomo threatened to shutter the city again following a recent weekend where crowds poured into the streets to eat and drink outside, seemingly flouting social-distancing regulations.

Here are the seven state criteria the city had to meet to get to phase one earlier in June:

  • Declining net hospitalizations
  • Drop in new hospitalizations
  • Falling deaths
  • Monthly diagnostic tests completed per 100,000 residents
  • 30 percent of hospital beds available
  • 30 percent of intensive care unit beds available
  • Contact tracing capacity

Confused about what all of these detailed metrics mean? Read this beginner’s guide to understanding New York’s reopening plan.

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