New York City halts indoor dining, adds more COVID restrictions to stop spread of virus

Northeast

NEW YORK CITY (NewsNation Now) — Indoor dining restrictions will be reinstated in New York City, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Friday as coronavirus cases and hospitalizations continue climbing in the city and throughout the state.

As of Monday, only takeout orders and outdoor dining will be allowed in the city, the governor said at a news conference in Albany.

Cuomo had hinted a clamp down on indoor dining for a week, saying he was waiting to see if the hospitalization rates stabilized. The government’s top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, spoke with Cuomo by livestream Monday and said he expects hospitalizations to keep increasing until mid-January.

The governor’s order came despite opposition from the beleaguered restaurant industry, which warned of holiday season layoffs at a time when the federal government has yet to pass additional COVID-19 relief.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said he supported Cuomo’s decision.

“This is painful. So many restaurants are struggling. But we can’t allow this virus to reassert itself in our city,” he said on Twitter.

The governor’s order came despite opposition from the beleaguered restaurant industry, which warned of holiday season layoffs at a time when the federal government has yet to pass additional COVID-19 relief.

New York closed nonessential businesses in March, which forced restaurants to rely on takeout and delivery. The state began allowing indoor dining in some regions outside of New York City in June, and Cuomo allowed indoor dining at 25% capacity in the city Sept. 30.

Critics pointed to Cuomo’s repeated statements that small gatherings and “living room spread” appears to be fueling the second wave of virus infections. But the governor’s administration has acknowledged that New York is unable to identify a single source of transmission for about 80% of cases in late fall.

New York City’s public school system, the largest in the U.S., began phased reopening on Dec. 7. The city has more than 1 million public school students. 

Cuomo also announced the state’s panel backs the FDA advisory panel’s recommendation to approve the Pfizer vaccine. He said 170,000 doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine should be in New York by Sunday or Monday. An additional 346,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine should be in the state by the week of Dec. 21, Cuomo said.

New York has more than 743,000 confirmed coronavirus cases and over 35,000 deaths, according to data complied by Johns Hopkins University.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.

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