Less than a week after state officials announced that restaurants could expand to 75 percent indoor capacity this month, a full indoor dining comeback is now on the horizon. Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced on Monday that restaurants, bars, and other businesses can reopen at full capacity starting on May 19.
It’s far from a return to normal for restaurant and bar owners. Even at 100% capacity, other coronavirus precautions will remain in place for the time being, including mask wearing and social distancing. Operators must either seat [groups of] diners at least six feet apart, in adherence to federal guidelines set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or tables must be separated by physical barriers.
“If the CDC changes their guidance, then we’ll change our guidance,” Cuomo said in a press conference on Monday. However, if a restaurant requires its customers to be fully vaccinated, or show a negative COVID-19 test, then it does not need to follow the social distancing requirements for patrons, Cuomo said.