Cuomo: New York City Restaurants, Salons, Gyms to Increase Capacity — but Not 100%

Customers dine at the Greek restaurant Molos in Weehawken, New Jersey on February 6, 2021, amid the coronavirus pandemic. - Restaurants across the state can expand their indoor capacity limits to 35%, up from the previous 25%. (Photo by Kena Betancur / AFP) (Photo by KENA BETANCUR/AFP via Getty Images)
KENA BETANCUR/AFP via Getty Images

New York City businesses hit hardest by the pandemic, such as restaurants, salons, and gyms, will soon be permitted to increase their capacity limits, but they will still not be able to expand to 100 percent capacity, Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) announced Friday.

Beginning May 7, restaurants will be able to expand indoor dining to 75 percent, and fitness centers will be allowed to expand to 50 percent capacity a week later, on May 15. However, the governor emphasized that masks and social distancing will still be required.

“The 6 foot social distancing requirement remains in effect in these establishments,” Cuomo said in a Friday statement.

“We must continue to do three things at once — increase vaccinations, maintain precautions, and reopen the economy. New York is doing it well and will continue,” he added:

Cuomo, whose state as a whole has continued to report more new cases of the Chinese coronavirus per capita than free, maskless states, such as Florida and Texas, said the Empire State is “winning the war against COVID-19.”

“That means it’s time to loosen some restrictions put in place to protect the public health and help our local businesses,” he said.

“There’s no doubt that restaurants have been among the pandemic’s hardest hit businesses, and New York City’s thriving restaurant industry has found it challenging to keep staff and maintain profits,” he continued.

“We’re easing restrictions on restaurants, personal care services and gyms to put more money in the pockets of small business owners and working people in New York City, which was hit so hard by the pandemic but, I have no doubt, will come back stronger than ever,” he added.

The New York lockdowns began over a year ago, in March. Since then, well over 1,000 New York City restaurants have permanently closed.

The governor did not say how he expects those businesses to recoup their tremendous losses.

Cuomo’s remarks come on the heels of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s (D) announcement that his intention is to “fully” reopen the entire city on July 1.

“Our plan is to fully reopen on July 1,” he said during an appearance Thursday on MSNBC’s Morning Joe. “We are ready for stores to open, for businesses to open, offices, theaters — full strength.”

“Because, look, what we’re seeing is people have gotten vaccinated in extraordinary numbers,” he continued, emphasizing the importance of keeping the vaccination effort going.

According to the Democrat governor, 46 percent of New Yorkers “have received at least one vaccine dose and 34.1% have completed their vaccine series”:

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