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Indoor Dining to Resume in New York City at 25 Percent Capacity on Valentine’s Day

Gov. Cuomo in Albany Jan. 29, 2021

Jan. 29, 2021 By Allie Griffin

Indoor dining will resume on Valentine’s Day at 25 percent capacity across the five boroughs, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Friday.

Cuomo said he lifted the indoor dining ban — which began on Dec. 14 — based on the decline in the  COVID-19 positivity rate.

The citywide positivity rate dipped to 4.9 percent yesterday from 7.1 percent on Jan. 5, according to state numbers. The rate, based on projection models, is expected to drop further in coming weeks, Cuomo said.

The announcement is welcome news for restaurant owners who have lost significant revenue since the restriction was put in place.

Cold weather has hampered business for outdoor dining forcing many establishments to close for the winter season — if not for good.  Takeout and delivery has brought in modest business for most.

Elsewhere across the state, indoor dining has remained open despite the fact that most regions have had a higher COVID-19 positivity rate than New York City. Cuomo said the city’s high density called for greater restrictions.

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Larry Penner

What a great way to say “I love you” by taking your significant other to their favorite restaurant on Valentines Day and also celebrate the return of limited indoor dinning! In these difficult economic times as a result of COVID-19, it is especially important to patronize your neighborhood restaurants.

With limited indoor dining returning on February 14th, take out and catering will continue to be the major source of income for most restaurants. When ordering take out, why not tip as if you were dinning indoors? My wife and I don’t mind occasionally paying a little more to help our favorite restaurants survive. Don’t forget your cook and server. We try to tip 20 percent against the total bill including taxes. If it is an odd amount, we round up to the next dollar.
These people are our neighbors. Thousands have already had to permanently close their doors. The remaining restaurants are barely hanging on. Who knows how many more weeks or months will go by, before they can increase indoor dinning to 50% followed by another return to full 100% capacity?
There are over one hundred thousand NYC residents whose livelihood depends on restaurants that are still out of work. This includes bar tenders, waiters, bus boys, cooks and cashiers. Wholesale food sellers, distributors, delivers, linen suppliers are also at a loss. There are also construction contractors and their employees, who renovate or build new restaurants.
Our local entrepreneurs work long hours, pay taxes and provide local employment especially to students during the summer. If we don’t patronize our local restaurants, they don’t eat either.

Larry Penner

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