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NYC Malls Like Hudson Yards Can Reopen Soon, Minus Food Court Seating

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Indoor restaurant dining likely won’t be allowed either

A pre-pandemic photo of the Hudson Yards mall shows patrons packed closely together on an escalator
A pre-pandemic photo of the Hudson Yards mall
Alex Staniloff/Eater

New York City shopping malls like the upscale ones at Columbus Circle and Hudson Yards could open as early as later this month, but the bars, restaurants, and food courts at those institutions could take longer to debut in any meaningful way.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced yesterday that shoppings malls in the state could begin to reopen in regions that are already in the so-called fourth phase of reopening, provided that they meet strict social distancing guidelines and upgrade their air filtration and ventilation systems.

New York City began phase three earlier this week and wouldn’t begin phase four until Monday, July 20 at the earliest.

Restaurants and other food and drinking places, however, will have to follow prevailing state guidance, which currently prohibits restaurants in the five boroughs from engaging in any type of indoor sit-down dining. That likely means chic venues like Per Se, Kawi, TAK Room, and Masa won’t be able to resume their full operations anytime soon.

Outdoor dining is permitted in New York, but most mall restaurants don’t have access to al fresco spaces.

Malls must also close their food court seating areas, per the guidance, which is bad news for anyone hoping to enjoy a bowl of noodles at the New World Mall in Flushing. State guidelines also require that malls shut down water fountains, self-serve bars like at frozen yogurt kiosks, and any common seating areas.

The actual food courts themselves, however, may stay open for takeout and delivery.

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