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Indoor Dining To Be Suspended In New York City, Gov. Cuomo Cites Increasing COVID-19 Hospitalizations

ALBANY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- Indoor dining will be suspended in New York City starting Monday, Dec. 14 in an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Friday.

It's the latest casualty from the surge of coronavirus infections, CBS2's Marcia Kramer reported.

"Restaurant and bars inside, indoors, 25% to 0, is one of the few areas that we think we can actually make a difference," the governor said.

Cuomo said he's working "on the theory of do everything that you can do within reason" and still evaluating what to do in the suburbs and the rest of the state.

The governor said he's ending indoor dining in the city because of the increase in hospitalizations in the five boroughs, an increase in the transmission rate and the city's natural density.

"The increasing [rate of transmission] is a problem... more of a problem in dense areas," said Cuomo. "In New York City, you put the CDC caution on indoor dining together with the rate of transmission and the density and the crowding, that is a bad situation."

Outdoor dining and takeout are unaffected.

"I think that's reasonable," Cuomo said.

Restaurant owners say that depends on your definition of what's reasonable.

State officials say they analyzed 46,000 data points and discovered:

  • 74% of COVID spread in New York is from household gatherings.
  • 1.43% comes from bars and restaurants -- the fifth highest cause of infections.

Maria DiRende, who owns Enzo's restaurant on Arthur Ave, said that's crazy math that doesn't add up.

"What does he think is going to happen if people can't come out to eat? There's only going to be more gatherings at home. It's just, none of it makes sense," DiRende said.

Watch Marcia Kramer's report --

Earlier in the week, Cuomo warned he would shut down indoor dining in the city unless the number of people hospitalized for COVID-19 stabilizes. It has not, he said Friday.

Hair salons and personal care establishments, which have a 0.14% spread; and gyms, where there is a 0.06% spread, will be allowed to stay open.

The news comes as the New York State Restaurant Association says 54% of restaurants say they will not survive the next six months without federal aid. The group adds that one out of every six restaurants in New York - including about 4,500 in the city - have already closed.

MORE: With More Restrictions On Indoor Dining Looming, Restaurant Owners Ask Gov. Cuomo To Show COVID-19 Data

"There's a lot of places, because of this next step, they're gonna close," restaurant owner Gianna Cerbone told CBS2's Ali Bauman.

Cerbone has hand sanitizer on almost every table inside her Long Island City restaurant.

"This is not because you're getting sick in restaurants. This is because we cannot control people to stay away from each other," she said.

"I'm gonna make sure I enjoy this weekend, I'll tell you that much. I'll pick up my kids, go out, have something good to eat, a nice piece of steak," one New Yorker said.

"For me, I wasn't comfortable when I heard my parents were dining inside regularly, so I get it,  but it's just a tough time," Mike Sadolinski, of Long Island City, said.

WATCH: Gov. Cuomo Announces Indoor Dining Will Be Suspended In NYC Starting Monday

The governor has extended  the commercial eviction moratorium and insisted restaurants can still make money from outdoor dining, takeout and delivery. He also pointed out their losses are his losses, too, in state sales tax.

"Literally, every dollar a business loses, we lose a percentage of that dollar. So, our calibration is as much economic activity as you can in respecting public health and the risk," Cuomo said.

"We were struggling as it was with everything going on," Harlem restaurant owner Nodar Mousishdili said.

He worries fewer tables means fewer shifts for his employees.

"Now it's gonna be even harder to keep most of them employed," he said.


Mayor Bill de Blasio said he would support the governor's restrictions, "100%, because we have to protect against the worst."

"For the first time, unfortunately, all three of our indicators are past the thresholds. That's a second wave," de Blasio said at his Friday press conference. "We have to fight it back to save lives, and we have to fight it back to start our recovery."

MORE: New York City's Coronavirus Indicators All Surpass Thresholds, Mayor Says 'That's A Second Wave'

The governor's office says indoor dining will be restricted for at least two weeks while they keep an eye on the city's hospitalization rate.

Meanwhile, restaurants in the suburbs are waiting for their turn in the economic meat grinder. The governor said he could impose more restrictions as soon as next week.

Indoor dining outside New York City could be reduced from 50% capacity to 25%, but sources told CBS2 it would be done on a regional basis.


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