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Cuomo: If COVID Hospitalizations Keep Climbing, Indoor Dining Will Have To Halt In NYC

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Gov. Andrew Cuomo laid out more plans Monday to make sure hospitals don't become overwhelmed in New York State and warned he may shut down indoor dining in New York City by the end of the week.

The governor said every region in the state has five days to stabilize its hospitalization rate. If they don't, regions outside the city would have to reduce indoor dining to 25% capacity. Restaurants in the city would have to suspend indoor dining indefinitely.

More than 4,600 patients are currently hospitalized with COVID-19 across the state.

As CBS2's Marcia Kramer reported, wine and roses are about to end for New Yorkers like one lunching indoors at Il Corso restaurant on East 55th street.

"We're going to monitor the hospital capacity. If it doesn't stabilize we're going to reduce the indoor dining restrictions. They go to zero in New York City, 25% everywhere else in the state," Cuomo said.

The governor told Kramer that, for now, it's just restaurant restrictions.

"Are you also saying that this is just indoor dining and bars, you're not going to go after gyms, hair salons, nail salons?" Kramer asked.

"The CDC has targeted indoor dining as a spreader," Cuomo said.

Watch Marcia Kramer's Report:

Pickup and delivery services would still be allowed, but there are caveats for other things. Outdoor dining would still be allowed, but officials say that in order to pass muster a structure has to have two sides that are open. A structure on East 55th street wouldn't pass muster because it only has two doors on one side.

Peter Guimaraes of Bice is serious.

"I'm very angry. I'm very upset. You know, we're a big company, we have restaurants all over the world, so we're probably going to survive this. But how about the smaller restaurants? They probably can't survive," he said.

Andrew Rigie of the New York Hospitality Alliance represents 2,500 of the city's 24,000 eateries.

"It's absolutely devastating for our local restaurants and workers. We can't continue to get shutdown without being supported," Rigie said.

MORE: 'Let's Win This War'; Gov. Murphy Urges New Jerseyans To Take Precautions Following Thanksgiving COVID Surge

Dr. Anthony Fauci, appearing by videoconference with the governor, agrees.

"Close the bars, keep the schools open, is the best thing to do, so long as you subsidize and help the restauranteurs and the bar owners so they don't go down and essentially crash because of the economic strain," Dr. Fauci said. "If we can keep those things under control, subsidize those people as well as keep the schools open, we'd be in good shape."

Rigie argues, while Manhattan has more restaurants than anywhere else in the state, it also has a significantly lower infection rate than other counties.

WATCH: Gov. Cuomo Joined By Dr. Fauci At COVID Briefing 

The owners of Plado in the Easy Village rely on indoor dining, since they only have space for two tables outside. Over the summer, they spent thousands of dollars on a new filtration system, CBS2's Ali Bauman reported Monday.

"There's days that we would have just one table," said Kristin Rizzo. "They put so many regulations and protocols into place, as to what you needed to do to keep open... Now, we invested money and now you're gonna shut it down again?"

"Right now, we're here talking to you, but, maybe in a couple months, we're not here anymore," said German Rizzo.

Blair Papagni owned Jimmy's Diner in Williamsburg, one of the many beloved restaurants that closed for good this year.

"When we closed we had been open 13 years," Papagni said. "Any kind of additional governmental support would've been helpful."


Possibly underscoring the seriousness of the second wave, the governor had clear acrylic dividers separating him and his staff members for the very first time, and they kept their masks on while he spoke.

The governor said 70% of the increase is due to "living room spread" from small gatherings. He said the state will implement a "surge and flex" hospital plan. He called on hospitals to increase capacity by 25%.

To maintain necessary staffing, the governor is also asking able, retired medical professionals to sign up to serve. He said that could increase staffing by 20,000.

The state is checking with hospitals daily to monitor capacity.


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