Restaurants in New York City, New Jersey to open at 50% capacity


New Jersey Governor Phil Murpy and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (iStock; Getty)

New York restaurants are on a rapid pace to reopen.

Governor Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday announced that restaurants in the city will increase indoor dining capacity to 50 percent starting March 19. New Jersey restaurants will also reopen at 50 percent capacity the same day.

“In New York State, our decisions are based on science and data and we are encouraged by the continued decline in infection and hospitalization rates,” Cuomo said in a statement.

The move comes nearly a month after indoor catering capacity was increased to 35 percent. A week before that, the indoor capacity was only 25%.

In the rest of New York State, restaurant capacity has been increased to 75 percent earlier this week.

Restaurants are struggling with capacity restrictions. A recent survey by the New York State Restaurant Association found that 27 percent of operators in New York City said without financial assistance they would shut down “likely” or “permanently” within three months.

However, with a $ 1.9 trillion stimulus package who should pass this week, financial aid may be on the way.

President Joe Biden’s US bailout has allocated $ 28.6 billion in restaurant aid. Restaurateurs could apply for long-term, low-interest loans as part of a $ 15 billion disaster emergency loan program. The stimulus also has $ 7.25 billion set aside for the Paycheck Protection Program, which provides forgivable loans to cover wage costs.

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