New York City to close indoor dining on Monday, Cuomo says

Restaurants and bars account for 1.4 per cent of new coronavirus cases compared to 74 per cent at private homes

Justin Vallejo
New York
Friday 11 December 2020 20:17 GMT
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Andrew Cuomo says private homes are worst offenders at spreading Covid
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Governor Andrew Cuomo announced indoor dining in New York City would be suspended indefinitely from Monday, citing rising infection rates of coronavirus.

“Hospitalizations have not stabilized, and with a rising infection rate and NYC’s density, this means that indoor dining is too high of a risk,” he said in a tweet on Friday.

“Takeout, delivery and outdoor dining will continue.”

Mr Cuomo did not provide a timeline for reopening of indoor dining, which he suggested earlier this week would be shut down if hospitalization rates did not slow down.

The number of people hospitalized from Covid statewide grew to 5,321 on Friday as new admissions in the five boroughs topped New York City mayor Bill de Blasio’s newly-imposed thresholds.

Hospital admissions in the city reached 205 on Friday, above the 200 threshold set by the mayor, while the citywide positivity rate of 5.35 per cent is above the seven-day threshold of 5 per cent.

The restrictions come after indoor dining resumed in September at 25 per cent capacity. Nationwide, 17 per cent of restaurants – or about 110,000 restaurants – have gone out of business due to the pandemic lockdown restrictions, according to the National Restaurant Association.

Mr Cuomo said at a press conference on Friday that while hospitalizations had increased, patient outcomes are better than they have ever been with 30 per cent less people in intensive care unites, and 50 per cent less people incubated, than in the spring.

The length of stay has also dropped from 11 days to five days and the death rate has dropped from 23 per cent to 8 per cent, while New York is expected to be the first major city in the US to receive the Covid vaccines.

The state is expected to receive 170,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine, and 346,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine, the week of 21 December.

“The troubling information in this is 74 per cent of the new cases are coming from household gatherings, living room spread,” he said.

“In many ways you can understand what happened, you close bars you close restaurants you close theatres you close stadiums you close mass gatherings, where do people go? They go home.”

By comparison, restaurants and bars account for 1.4 per cent of new cases, Mr Cuomo said.

He told reporters at today’s press conference that the decision to close indoor dining was made due to the CDC’s new warnings issued on indoor dining last week, in combination with an increase in the retransmission rate in the density of New York City.

He said the federal government should include subsidies for bars and restaurants in their Covid relief package, but that New York could currently only support by extending the commercial eviction moratorium.

“Yes there’ll be an economic hardship,” Mr Cuomo said. “But we have compensated in other ways and this is a situation that has affected every business community, not just restaurants, every business community and every family."

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