New York City Postpones Indoor Dining Indefinitely

Mayor de Blasio says he wants to “double down” on outdoor seating.

New York City has joined the increasing number of areas curbing indoor activities to help prevent spikes in coronavirus cases. Originally planning to allow limited indoor dining for restaurants starting on July 6, today, Mayor Bill de Blasio officially announced that the return of indoor dining would be postponed indefinitely.

De Blasio started his press conference today with “tough news.” “We know a lot of other parts of this country, very sadly, made decisions based on something other than the data,” he stated. “And now what we’re seeing in Florida, what we’re seeing in Texas, even in California that tried really hard to get it right, slipping backwards, we see a lot of problems, and we particularly see problems revolving around people going back to bars and restaurants indoors. And indoors is the problem more and more; the science is showing it more and more.”

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With that in mind, the mayor stated that New York City would be unable to move forward with indoor dining, postponing it indefinitely and, instead, choosing to “double down” on outdoor dining.

“We’re going to work with the state of New York to figure out what is the exact right way to do this,” he continued, referencing Governor Andrew Cuomo who hinted this postponement was coming earlier in the week. “How to postpone indoor dining until the right moment.”

Turning his attention to outdoor dining, de Blasio said that, so far, 6,600 restaurants have taken advantage of the city’s Open Restaurant Initiative. “We’re going to have a huge outreach effort,” he added, “helping to show restaurants that qualify that they can take advantage of this right away, get a lot more business, and do it in a safe way, which is outdoors.”

“I am very convinced we can help restaurants survive—we can help bring in a lot more revenue to them; we can help bring back a lot of jobs—but do it safely and do it outdoors,” de Blasio said.

As NBC New York points out, the rest of New York State has already resumed indoor dining. Despite the postponement of indoor dining, New York City will still reportedly be moving forward to Phase Three of the state’s reopening plan in other regards on Monday, including the reopening of personal care services and more outdoor recreational activities.

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