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New York City indoor dining capacity to increase to 75% in May as Covid restrictions ease

Eataly NYC Downtown reopens with Color Factory for La Pizza & La Pasta A Colori art installation created by artist Eric Rieger (AKA HOTTEA) on April 21, 2021 in New York City.

Noam Galai | Getty Images

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Friday that indoor dining capacity in New York City will be increased to 75% on May 7, finally matching indoor dining capacity regulations in the rest of the state.

“After a long and incredibly difficult fight, New York State is winning the war against Covid-19, and that means it’s time to loosen some restrictions put in place to protect the public health and help our local businesses,” the governor said.

The announcement comes a day after New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that the city would fully reopen by July 1 after more than a year of restrictions. Cuomo said he thinks the city could reopen sooner.

Restaurants won’t be the only businesses getting a capacity upgrade. Fitness centers and personal care services will be opening their doors to a higher flow of patrons as well.

New York City gyms and fitness centers will expand to 50% capacity beginning May 15, while hair salons, nail salons, barbershops and other personal care services will expand to 75% capacity beginning May 7.

The governor announced Wednesday that bar seating restrictions will be lifted on May 3. Outdoor dining curfews of 12 a.m. are set to end by May 17, and indoor dining curfews will expire May 31.

Casinos and gaming facilities will increase from 25% to 50% capacity, and offices will increase from 50% to 75% capacity.

“We need to reopen and rebuild our economy as the data and the science improves in our favor, and these new announcements will help New Yorkers get back on their feet after an incredibly tough year,” Bronx Chamber of Commerce President Lisa Sorin said in a press release.

Severe restrictions on bars and restaurants that began in March of last year left the city suffering widespread unemployment, with more than 1,200 restaurants closing their doors permanently as of July 2020, according to the New York City comptroller.

The announcements come as the city records a seven-day average of 1,480 new cases. Almost 6.5 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines have been administered in the city, with 30% of city residents fully vaccinated, according to the city’s department of health.

Correction: This article has been updated to clarify that 30% of New York City residents have been fully vaccinated, according to the city’s department of health.

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