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Some NYC restaurants voluntarily closing indoor, outdoor dining as COVID-19 spikes

Restaurants relying on outdoor dining prepare to take a hit as fall approaches
Posted at 1:40 PM, Nov 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-21 13:40:17-05

MANHATTAN, N.Y. — A New York City restaurateur has stopped offering indoor and outdoor dining at several of his eateries, citing the rising number of coronavirus cases in the city.

Union Square Hospitality Group CEO Danny Meyer announced the change on Saturday.

"Given the growing number of positive COVID-19 cases in New York City, and even within our own USHG community, we are making the decision that is in the best interest of the health and safety of our people,” he said in a statement.

The Union Square Cafe, Gramercy Tavern, and Blue Smoke in Battery Park City, which had been offering indoor and outdoor dining at 25% capacity, have now switched to more socially distanced operations.

Fans of these restaurants can still take advantage of pickup, delivery, nationwide shipping, and virtual food and wine experiences, according to Meyer.

"This will allow our teams to put 100% of their efforts into cooking amazing food that you can enjoy in the comfort and safety of your own home, whether picked up contact-free or delivered to you," he said.

New York City business owners have been closely watching the city’s growing coronavirus infection rate with concern.

Mayor Bill de Blasio suggested earlier this week the city could face another partial shutdown if the number of new cases continues to rise.

On Saturday, the city reported 1,345 new cases of COVID-19. The citywide seven-day infection rate was 3.11%.

If the seven-day infection rate remains above 3%, de Blasio said the state could designate all of New York City as an orange microcluster zone, which would force the closure of non-essential businesses.

However, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said on Friday the state’s own coronavirus data differs from the city’s data. The State Health Department’s data puts New York City at a seven-day infection rate of 2.5% — below the 3% threshold.

One thing both Cuomo and de Blasio could agree on this week was the danger Thanksgiving gatherings pose to the entire state.

The mayor and governor are urging New Yorkers to keep holiday celebrations to only those who live in the same household.