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‘Indoor Dining is Going Forward,’ NYC Mayor Says in Light of COVID-19 Uptick

Mayor Bill de Blasio clarified Tuesday that indoor dining would proceed as planned on Wednesday, but did not rule out a change if cases increased

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio visits South Street Seaport as workers erect temporary flood barriers in preparation for potential flooding and a storm surge from Tropical Storm Isaias on August 03, 2020 in New York City.
Mayor Bill de Blasio said Tuesday that indoor dining is moving forward as planned
Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images

Despite a recent uptick in COVID-19 cases across nine zip codes in Brooklyn and Queens, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Tuesday that indoor dining would move forward as planned on Wednesday.

“We are going to keep an eye on that situation,” Mayor de Blasio said at his daily press conference, answering a reporter’s question on the return of indoor dining. “We are going to watch that carefully, but bottom line is indoor dining will go forward.”

Gov. Andrew Cuomo echoed these sentiments at his own press conference later in the day saying that “I don’t believe we’re at the point of rolling back anything.” He went on to add a caveat that if local governments didn’t do enough, then cities “will be there in the short term future.”

With the recent uptick in cases in those zip codes, New York City’s daily positivity rate soared to 3.25 percent, more than tripling in the last few days, and a significant increase particularly considering the fact that NYC was holding at a one percent positive rate or below for a month before this current increase.

Still, things could change if there’s an increase in the seven-day average rate of positive cases, the metric the city is using to potentially shut down schools and non-essential businesses. At present, that seven-day average sits at 1.38 percent, but the city might reevaluate its decision on indoor dining should that number move higher.

Previously, the mayor’s office had said that the city would reassess its decision on indoor dining if the city hit two percent COVID-19 positivity rate, but de Blasio clarified this morning that the decision would in fact be based on that seven-day average going above three percent. The mayor, however, did suggest that restaurant shutdown measures — if any — might be restricted to those nine zip codes. The mayor’s office did not immediately return a request for more details on this statement.

Indoor dining has remained closed in NYC since early March when the city first experienced a massive surge in COVID-19 cases. Restaurants will be able to offer indoor dining at 25 percent capacity starting tomorrow with the possibility of going up to 50 percent capacity in November, if coronavirus cases in the city remain low.