Governor Andrew Cuomo announced major changes to New York’s dining and drinking rules on Wednesday.
As of May 3, bar seating will once again be allowed in New York, as will catered events at private residences. Then, on May 12, the 12 a.m. curfew will be lifted for outdoor dining will be removed. The curfew for indoor dinking will follow suit on May 31.
“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,” Cuomo said in a statement.
These changes come after significant backlash from industry professionals all across New York.
“These outdated policies made it too difficult for too many small business owners and workers to support themselves and their families, and were a grave inconvenience to customers,” Andrew Rigie, the executive director of the NYC Hospitality Alliance, said in a statement (via Eater). “Lifting these restrictions is an important step forward for restaurants and bars across New York City, and we will continue working with the state to safely and completely reopen our hospitality industry, bring back jobs and sustain vital small businesses.”
New York’s decision to loosen dining and drinking restrictions follows similar moves by the governments of neighboring states like New Jersey and Connecticut. The New York government also recent loosened the rules for travelers visiting the state, removing quarantine requirements for all those arriving from inside the U.S.
“New Yorkers have shown strength and perseverance throughout this entire pandemic, and it shows through the numbers that continue to decrease every day,” Cuomo announced in March “As we work to build our vaccination infrastructure even further and get more shots in arms, we’re making significant progress in winning the footrace between the infection rate and the vaccination rate, allowing us to open new sectors of our economy and start our transition to a new normal in a post-pandemic world. As part of that transition, quarantine for domestic travelers is no longer required, but it is still being advised as an added precaution.”