New York City Set to Bring Back Indoor Dining on Sept. 30

Patrons will have to abide by social distancing measures and have their temperatures taken at the door.

New York City will allow indoor dining to resume at the end of September, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced on Wednesday.

Marking its long-awaited return, New Yorkers will be able to dine indoors starting on Sept. 30 at 25 percent capacity. Patrons will have to abide by social distancing measures and have their temperatures taken at the door. Restaurants will also record contact information for at least one person in each party for contact tracing purposes.

There will be no bar service and dining will only be allowed at tables.

"This is good news and the right step forward, especially for restaurant owners and staff who have been struggling through this time,” Cuomo said in a statement. “But it is up to all of us to ensure compliance and the health and safety of those around us."

In addition, diners will be required to wear masks when not seated at the table and tables must be placed six feet apart. Restaurants are also required to close at midnight.

Cuomo said the city will deploy 400 enforcement personnel to ensure compliance.

Outdoor dining at Sadelle's in Soho
Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images

While New York City has moved through the state’s reopening phases, Cuomo had previously postponed the resumption of indoor dining, citing fear over increases in case counts in other states and the “slipping” of social distancing measures and mask-wearing. Instead, he and Mayor Bill de Blasio promoted outdoor dining, which saw many sidewalks and even roadways transform into social spaces for enjoying a meal with friends and family.

De Blasio said bringing back indoor dining would help the city’s economic recovery, but warned the city would reassess if the COVID-19 positivity rate rose to 2 percent. Currently, New York City has a 1 percent positivity rate on a 7-day rolling average, according to the state.

“Science will guide our decision-making as we continue to monitor progress and health care indicators over the next three weeks to ensure a safe reopening,” de Blasio said in a statement. “This may not look like the indoor dining that we all know and love, but it is progress for restaurant workers and all New Yorkers.”

The NYC Hospitality Alliance called the move “critical to help save these vital small businesses and jobs.”

Indoor dining has been allowed in other parts of the state at 50 percent capacity for months.

The resumption of indoor dining follows last month’s reopening of indoor museums and gyms in the city.

Alison Fox is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure. When she’s not in New York City, she likes to spend her time at the beach or exploring new destinations and hopes to visit every country in the world. Follow her adventures on Instagram.

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