ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The Office of Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Wednesday morning that curfews for restaurants will change starting in mid-May.
Midnight curfews for outdoor dining areas will be lifted on May 17. Indoor dining curfews will be lifted on May 31. Catered events whose attendees can prove they’ve been vaccinated or COVID negative will also be lifted on May 17. For all other catered events, curfew expires May 31.
Cuomo’s office says catered events at residences can have more than 10 people indoors and more than 25 people outdoors—the current capacity limits—on May 3. Those events must be staffed by a professional, licensed caterer, have local permits, and continue following mask and social distancing directives. On May 3, guidance for dancing among attendees at catered events will replace “fixed dance zones” for each table with social distancing and masks, like in neighboring states.
Also on May 3, seating will be allowed at bars in New York City.
“We know the COVID positivity rate is a function of our behavior, and over the last year New Yorkers have remained disciplined and continued with the practices we know work to stop the spread of the virus,” Cuomo said in a statement. “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. 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. To be clear: we will only be able to maintain this progress if everyone gets the COVID vaccine. It is the weapon that will will the war and we need everyone to take it, otherwise we risk going backward.”
In light of recent moves from the legislature to repeal lingering pandemic executive orders, lawmakers chafing against waiting weeks for the restrictions to expire may still push back.
On Monday, Cuomo announced capacity limits at big outdoor venues can increase to 33% on May 19. He has also announced that on May 15, gyms and fitness centers outside of New York City, casinos, and gaming facilities can operate at 50% capacity. Also on May 15, offices can increase to 75%.