New York City to halt indoor dining as coronavirus cases surge
  • New York City restaurants must stop indoor dining on Monday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Friday. 
  • The US’ largest city has seen an uptick in infections recently as the US struggles with record levels of spread. 
  • Cuomo also called on Congress to include restaurants and bars in further economic aid packages. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Restaurants in New York City will be required to close their indoor dining rooms on Monday until further notice, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Friday.

The increased restrictions come as coronavirus cases in New York City surge alongside the US at large. The five boroughs averaged 41 new cases per 100,000 people over a 14-day time span, with the number gradually increasing in recent weeks. Indoor dining resumed in the city in September with capacity limited to 25%. 

—Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) December 11, 2020

“We learned this lesson in the spring the hard way: the crowding is a problem,” Cuomo said. 

New York State as a whole recorded 10,595 new cases on Thursday, its third consecutive day above the 10,000 threshold. However, tests administered in the city have a lower positivity than other parts of the state, where restaurants will remain open, state data shows. In those areas, adjustments may be made next week to restaurant and bar restrictions, Cuomo said: “When facts change, we’ll adjust to the facts.”

Restaurant closings have become a hotbed issue after federal economic relief largely ran out over the summer. Los Angeles County, the most populous in the country, suspended all in-person restaurant dining — both indoor and outdoor — in November, causing outrage from some business owners.

Major US stock indexes hit session lows as Cuomo announced the news. Roughly 17% of US restaurants have permanently closed this year, and industry groups are warning thousands more will come soon without further loans or grants allowing owners to close without causing more financial pain.

“The federal government must provide relief to bars and restaurants in this next package,” Cuomo said, adding that the state will extend its commercial eviction moratorium. Efforts to pass a second relief package have been mired in congressional gridlock since August. 

New York expects to receive an initial vaccine shipment of 105,000 doses this month, with the first injections for healthcare workers beginning as soon as Dec. 15, depending on federal approval of the vaccines. 

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