NEW YORK — Indoor dining in New York City has been put on hold as the city is expected to enter Phase 3 of reopening, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Wednesday.
"We cannot go ahead at this point in time with indoor dining," the mayor said during his daily briefing.
As diners across New York State get the go ahead to eat inside restaurants, patrons around the five boroughs will have to take a raincheck.
Instead, the city plans to expand outdoor dining, which the mayor said has been successful.
Indoor dining was expected to resume on July 6, when New York City is scheduled to enter Phase 3, but the mayor and governor said scenes of crowds gathering by bars along with a spike in COVID-19 cases in other states had them reconsidering the step.
"In New York City we have a compliance issue and it's real," Gov. Andrew Cuomo said previously.
“It’s going to be postponed until the facts change” and it is safe to continue, according to Cuomo.
The indoor dining postponement is only in effect in New York City, the governor clarified.
"We need to see citizens comply better, we need to see local governments do better, and we would like to see the viral spread across the nation at least stabilizing,” said Cuomo.
While indoor dining may be on pause, de Blasio said he wants to see more open streets that can help city restaurants expand their outdoor dining capacity, and help New Yorkers safely get outside more often this summer.
Currently, 6,600 restaurants are taking advantage of the al fresco dining restaurant initiative.
"Outdoors is where we need to be to the maximum extent possible this summer as we fight back this disease,” said de Blasio.
Chairs and tables are still tucked away inside Chris Giudice's restaurant.
The owner of “George Keeley” said the bar’s weekly revenue during the pandemic is what it used to make on a Saturday alone.
Which is why he doesn’t approve of the city’s indoor dining plan. He said it’s a plan that could force his business to close for good.
“We only have a little time left to try to generate some revenue,” said Giudice, adding that he's counting on the city to serve up another solution.
New Jersey had already announced it would pause the resumption of indoor dining, which was expected to begin Thursday.
States with coronavirus surges, including California and Texas, have since backtracked on parts of their reopenings.
New York City is still on track to begin Phase 3 on July 6, which will include the resumption of personal care businesses.
Despite reevaluating indoor dining guidelines, “Phase 2 has been going very well in New York City,” the mayor said
Once considered the epicenter of the virus, New York has made great progress in its battle against the virus.
But COVID-19 cases across the country are rising. Dr. Anthony Fauci, America's top infectious disease expert, said the virus could surge to 100,000 cases a day nationwide.