Restaurant workers across the city have been scrambling to make sense of how the ongoing curfew in New York City applies to them, and how they can safely make their way to work and back home during curfew hours, without being stopped. While the city issued guidelines three hours before the curfew went into effect on Monday, the news did not travel to many restaurant and delivery workers. Now, the curfew — which was implemented in light of property damage and reports of looting — will be in effect daily from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. through Monday, June 8.
By Tuesday afternoon, the city released a document that provided some more clarity for workers. Still, there are concerns — particularly for undocumented workers — about the type of identification that would be acceptable, if they were stopped by an expanded police force. Many restaurants are currently choosing to close for the duration of the curfew or to keep shorter hours, so workers don’t have to travel once the lockdown is in place, with some saying that black staffers don’t want to be out while the police presence has dramatically increased.
But for those workers who still need to go out, here are the salient guidelines to know before heading out after curfew.
- Restaurant, bar, and food industry workers have been classified as essential by the state, and can continue to work during the course of the curfew.
- There are no specific requirements for ID. The city document says that workers need only to state that they are essential workers, and ID like business cards, some type of work ID, work documentation, or a uniform are all acceptable, though none are required.
- Services like Citi Bike and Revel — something many delivery workers rely on — will not be working during curfew hours. Ride-share services like Lyft and Uber won’t be running between 8 p.m. and 12:30 a.m., but can serve essential workers after that until the curfew lifts. However, the city guidelines do not say if essential workers will be required to show ride-share services some kind of ID.
- Buses and yellow and green taxis will run on a normal schedule, but the subway will shut at 1 a.m. and reopen at 5 a.m., continuing with the regulations established during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Aside from going to and from work, essential workers can go to grocery stores or other restaurants to pick up food, and to pharmacies or the hospital to get medicine or treatment. Being outside during curfew hours for anything beyond that isn’t permitted.
- NYPD will let workers pass through any police roadblocks set up on the street, and the city says workers only need to identify themselves as essential.
- 24-hour grocery stores can continue to operate during the curfew.