Governor Andrew Cuomo said Friday that New York City’s indoor dining can expand its capacity to 35 percent, and also set several other landmark easings of pandemic restrictions. Currently, indoor dining is limited to 25 percent of capacity. The new limits will be pushed starting Feb. 26.
The move comes as the state is gradually moving forward as the pandemic appears to be easing. Last week, Cuomo said indoor sporting events would be allowed to have a limited number of fans for the first time since last year. The New York Knicks subsequently sold out their allotment of available seats.
Outside New York City, the rest of the state currently allows indoor dining at 50 percent capacity. The 35 percent capacity matches levels in place in neighboring New Jersey.
“Obviously, we’re more sensitive to New York City because of the density, the concentration, the history, but we’re headed in the right direction,” Cuomo said. “The numbers continue to be good, we’ll continue to make progress.”
Limited wedding receptions can resume in mid-March with a capacity limit of 50 percent and 150-person max attendance. Cuomo also said New York City colleges could resume in-person classes as long as testing results do not exceed 5 percent positivity during a rolling 14-day period.
New York City’s seven-day rolling average of new daily cases was 3,656, the lowest level since December.
Cuomo also announced plans to allow nursing home visits, but did not set a specific date. He has been under fire for the huge number of deaths in those homes, which were mandated to take Covid-19 patients after they were discharged from hospitals.
Cuomo blamed the outrage over that move on “lies” and “misinformation” from media outlets.