New York to Allow Outdoor Dining As Part of Phase 2 of Reopening (Video)

New York City enters Phase 1 of reopening on Monday.

New York will allow outdoor dining as part of Phase 2 of the state's staggered reopening plan, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said on Wednesday.

Several regions upstate, including the Capital Region (where the Catskills sit) and the Finger Lakes, have already entered Phase 2 and will be able to dine outside at restaurants starting Thursday, according to the governor's office.

The announcement comes as New York City, which has been particularly hard-hit by the coronavirus, prepares to enter Phase 1 on June 8, allowing for things like curbside pickup from retailers and resuming nonessential construction.

"COVID-19 is still a real threat and we're still battling it. I know it's not on the front pages today, but it is still in people and in society," Cuomo said in a statement, adding: "We are continuously evaluating activities that can be safely reopened, and today we are adding outdoor seating at restaurants to phase two."

In order to open, outdoor tables have to be spaced six feet apart and staff will have to wear face masks. Additionally, customers will have to wear masks when not seated. Along with dining, Phase 2 allows stores and services like hair and nail salons to reopen.

People wearing protective face masks sit outside at a cafe
Rob Kim/Getty

Melissa Fleischut, the president and CEO of the New York State Restaurant Association said in a statement posted to Twitter that "the restaurant industry in New York is on the brink of collapse and this lifeline will undoubtedly be a huge help," adding that restaurants "will follow stringent sanitation practices and social distancing to make our patrons feel comfortable and keep our diners and employees safe."

New York has been the hardest hit state in the country when it comes to confirmed COVID-19 cases. The state has recorded more than 374,000 confirmed cases of the virus, according to the state's Department of Health. New daily cases and hospitalizations have been declining.

On May 20, neighboring Connecticut allowed outdoor dining to resume at restaurants. New Jersey will do the same statewide on June 15, according to the state's governor.

Click here for a state-by-state breakdown of how coronavirus is being handled throughout the country.

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