Governor Andrew Cuomo announced on Wednesday that a pair of pandemic restrictions affecting New York restaurants and bars will end next month: the midnight food and beverage curfew will be lifted for outdoor dining beginning May 17th and for indoor dining beginning May 31st. In addition, seating at bars will be allowed again in NYC starting May 3rd.
Cuomo said in a statement that this was a result of New Yorkers getting vaccinated and complying with pandemic guidelines.
"Everything we've been doing is working—all the arrows are pointing in the right direction and now we're able to increase economic activity even more," Cuomo said. "Lifting these restrictions for restaurants, bars and catering companies will allow these businesses that have been devastated by the pandemic to begin to recover as we return to a new normal in a post-pandemic world."
Cuomo also announced that the 1 a.m. curfew for catered events (where attendees have provided proof of vaccination status or a recent negative COVID-19 test result) will be lifted beginning May 17th, with the curfew for all catered events set to be lifted May 31st. Catered events will also be able to resume at residences beginning May 3rd.
“New York City’s restaurants and bars have been financially devastated by COVID-19 restrictions and it’s great news that the state will finally undo the barstool ban and lift the arbitrary midnight curfew," said Andrew Rigie, the executive director of the NYC Hospitality Alliance. "These outdated policies made it too difficult for too many small business owners and workers to support themselves and their families, and were a grave inconvenience to customers. Lifting these restrictions is an important step forward for restaurants and bars across New York City, and we will continue working with the state to safely and completely reopen our hospitality industry, bring back jobs and sustain vital small businesses.”
That isn't all: another Cuomo executive order that required restaurants and bars to serve food with alcohol is expected to be repealed by the NY State Senate and Assembly on Wednesday.
“Good riddance. Governor Cuomo never explained why this rule made New Yorkers any safer from COVID-19, and it’s great to see the Legislature easing the burden on struggling bars and restaurants. Face masks and social distancing are what stop the spread – not chips and salsa,” said Mitch Schwartz, spokesperson for the mayor's office.