New York|Indoor dining in New York City will expand to 75 percent capacity next week, the governor says.
Restaurants in New York City can broaden indoor dining to 75 percent capacity beginning on May 7, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said Friday, an expansion already available to restaurants in the rest of the state.
The governor also said the city’s gyms and fitness centers would expand to 50 percent capacity beginning May 15. Hair salons, barber shops and other personal care services can move to to 75 percent capacity on May 7, he said.
The expansions will effectively apply to the entire city because Mr. Cuomo also announced that he was rescinding his “micro-cluster zone strategy.” That set of restrictions were divided into three color-coded zones — red, orange and yellow — each with different rules for gatherings, schools and businesses for specific neighborhoods or boroughs, in New York City. Zones in the rest of the state had been lifted earlier this year.
The governor’s announcement came a day after Mayor Bill de Blasio declared that New York City would fully reopen on July 1, after more than a year of virus-related restrictions imposed by the governor.
Still, they have acknowledged that the virus will likely remain a threat, at least to some extent.
At a White House news conference on Friday, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, called the mayor’s July 1 date “a reasonable target” if the current pace of vaccinations and declines in case numbers continued. She declined to predict updates to the C.D.C.’s guidance that those dining indoors should wear masks except when actively eating or drinking, noting that “this virus has tricked us before.”
At a news conference on Thursday, Mr. Cuomo scoffed at Mr. de Blasio’s comment about the city reopening by July 1, emphasizing that the state was in charge. He said that he was “reluctant to make projections” on a reopening date, saying that doing so would be “irresponsible.”
Even so, the governor, who has moved recently to roll back restrictions, said that he too was hopeful that a wider reopening was within sight, possibly sooner than Mr. de Blasio’s goal.
“I think that if we do what we have to do, we can be reopened earlier,” Mr. Cuomo said.
Earlier this week, the governor said that the longstanding curfew requiring establishments to stop serving customers at midnight will end statewide on May 17 for outdoor dining areas and May 31 for indoor dining.
Andrew Rigie, the executive director of the New York City Hospitality Alliance, said in a statement on Friday that easing restrictions on restaurants and bars “provides a shot of optimism to small business owners and workers who have been financially devastated over the past year.”
“We look forward to working with Governor Cuomo’s administration to safely reopen New York City, so we can get the restaurant capital of the world cooking again,” he said.
Michael Gold contributed reporting.