New Yorkers rush to restaurants before indoor dining ban kicks in

The last suppers: COVID-weary New Yorkers rush to restaurants and bars to enjoy their last meals with friends before Cuomo’s indoor dining ban kicks in on Monday and temperatures drop below freezing next week

  • Diners were pictured descending on their favorite foodie hotspots across New York City Saturday night 
  • New Yorkers were looking to enjoy indoor dining for what is likely to be the last time in 2020
  • Governor Cuomo announced Friday indoor dining will be banned from Monday across NYC
  • This marks a blow for the restaurant industry which was already struggling with 25% indoor capacity 
  • COVID-19 hospitalizations in New York state are surging, reaching 5,359 Friday – the highest number on record since May when New York was the virus epicenter of the world
  • New York City’s positivity rate is lower than many regions of the state at 3.99%
  • However, hospital beds are running out in the city with 81% now full and just 24% of ICU beds available 
  • Outdoor – as well as indoor – dining has been banned in LA County, but Manhattan Beach officials, restaurant owners and foodies are sidestepping the ban by setting up ‘public parklets’ 
  • Parklets are public outdoor seating seating areas that fall outside the scope of the ban because public outdoor seating areas are not banned and the areas are not operated by the restaurants
  • Nationwide, America hit a record high for hospitalizations for the seventh day in a row Saturday

New Yorkers are rushing to the city’s restaurants and bars to enjoy a last supper with friends before Governor Andrew Cuomo’s indoor dining ban kicks in on Monday. 

Diners were pictured descending on their favorite foodie hotspots across New York City Saturday night to bag a table inside for what is likely to be the last time in 2020. 

COVID-19 hospitalizations in New York state are surging, reaching 5,359 Friday – an increase of 38 in a single day and the highest number on record since May when New York was the virus epicenter of the world.

Of those hospitalized, 1,029 were in ICU and 563 were intubated.    

The positivity rate was 4.58 percent statewide, down from 4.98 percent the day before, when it fell back below the 5 percent mark 

New York City’s positivity rate is lower than many regions of the state at 3.99 percent which has led many restaurant and bar owners to question the decision to close indoor dining. 

However, hospital beds are running out in the city with 81 percent now full and it has the lowest proportion of ICU beds available in the state – together with Mohawk County – with just 24 percent still empty.

With fears rising that the healthcare system could soon become overwhelmed, Cuomo made the unpopular decision Friday to shutter all indoor dining across New York City from Monday.

The backpedaling on reopening plans follows similar moves across other cities states.

Much of California has been plunged into a stay-at-home order and Los Angeles County has even banned outdoor dining, with one area of LA – Manhattan Beach – sidestepping the ban by setting up ‘parklets’.

Parklets are public outdoor seating seating areas that fall outside the scope of the ban because public outdoor seating areas are not banned and the areas are not operated by the restaurants. 

This comes as cases, hospitalizations and deaths are surging nationwide, with America recording its deadliest day since the pandemic began Friday.  

New Yorkers head out into the restaurants this weekend before indoor dining is shut down again due to the pandemic. Restaurant Urban Vegan Kitchen in West Village pictured

With the clock ticking to the shuttering of indoor dining in the Big Apple, New Yorkers headed out Saturday to make the most of the chance to escape the winter weather. Restaurant Spunta Pizza in Manhattan

Diners were pictured descending on their favorite foodie hospots across New York City Saturday night to bag a table inside for what is likely to be the last time in 2020. Customers line up outside Dante in the West Village

New Yorkers are rushing to the city’s restaurants and bars to enjoy a last supper with friends before Governor Andrew Cuomo’s indoor dining ban kicks in on Monday

With fears rising that the healthcare system could soon become overwhelmed, Cuomo made the unpopular decision Friday to shutter all indoor dining across New York City from Monday.

Families and friends enjoyed meals inside their local joints Saturday night to make the most of indoor dining while they can

With the clock ticking to the shuttering of indoor dining in the Big Apple, New Yorkers headed out Saturday to make the most of the chance to escape the winter weather. 

Families and friends enjoyed meals inside their local joints while some of the city’s most iconic haunts had long lines outside as customers waited for the already limited tables – due to the current 25 percent capacity rule. 

During the daytime, people were spotted brunching and having a festive drink inside several restaurants in Soho, Manhattan.

Outside Prince Street Pizza, a long line of hungry customers snaked along the sidewalk to get their hands on a table inside.  

It was a similar story at the iconic Katz Deli where people lined up patiently for its famous sandwiches.  

Customers told the New York Post they were enjoying the last chance to eat and drink indoors.  

‘Everyone wants to get the last couple of nights out with friends,’ said John O’Reilly, at St. James’ Gate on Manhattan’s Upper West Side.

‘With the cold weather, not a lot of people are going to want to sit outside and drink.’    

Cuomo announced Thursday that indoor dining in New York City will close on Monday for at least two weeks until the rate of hospitalizations slows down

The governor had warned earlier in the week he was considering stopping indoor dining as hospitalizations surge

Cuomo’s budget director Robert Mujica said Wednesday that bars and restaurants account for the largest growing cluster of known COVID-19 infections in the state

People enjoy indoor dining over the weekend ahead of the ban going into effect Monday across the city

Diners in Soho Park in Soho are seen having a bit to eat Saturday daytime with 48 hours to go until the ban

During the daytime, people were spotted brunching and having a festive drink inside several restaurants in Soho, Manhattan. Pictured Soho Park 

Cuomo announced Thursday that indoor dining in New York City will close on Monday for at least two weeks until the rate of hospitalizations slows down. 

‘Look at the top of the list… focus on the household, social gathering spread. We are and we are doing everything we can. It’s limited what we can do,’ he said.   

The governor had warned earlier in the week he was considering stopping indoor dining. 

His budget director Robert Mujica said Wednesday that bars and restaurants account for the largest growing cluster of known COVID-19 infections in the state.  

‘The largest growing cluster of known infections is traced back to bars and restaurants,’ he said during Cuomo’s press conference. 

‘It make sense that as it gets colder and you move into indoor dining those numbers are growing faster than every other category.’     

In Cafe Habana in Soho diners sit at a booth with plexi-glass between tables – put in place to prevent the COVID spread

Le Pecora Bianca in Soho welcomed diners through its doors Saturday as customers enjoyed the last chance to eat and drink indoors

Outside, Prince Street Pizza, a long line of hungry customers snaked along the sidewalk to get their hands on a table inside

Some of the city’s most iconic haunts had long lines outside as customers waited for the already limited tables – due to the current 25 percent capacity rule

Diners inside Dos Caminos in Soho Saturday daytime. The move to shutter indoor dining marks a major blow to the city’s hard-hit restaurants which had only ever been able to reopen at a 25 percent capacity indoors since they first closed back in March

However just last week Cuomo blamed what he called ‘living room spread’ for the recent surge across the city, saying intimate events in households with friends and family are behind 70 percent of all cases.   

‘It’s not mass gatherings, it’s not what it was,’ he said. ‘It’s literally living room spread which when you think about it is understandable.’ 

‘People change their socialization patterns. We’re social beings we like to be with each other,’ he said.

‘Where did you socialize? We went to the restaurant and we sat around and we talked and we had fun. Okay that doesn’t work anymore.

‘We went to the bar and we sat down and we talked to each other and we had fun. Okay well that doesn’t work anymore. Okay then come to my home and we’ll socialize in my house.’ 

He added: ‘When you eliminate those other options, socialization isn’t going to stop especially in the holiday season.

‘That concept of living room spread is hard to communicate because the whole orientation is I’m in my house with my family and with my friends. This is my safe zone I’m siting in my living room, of course I’m safe this is my best friend Jesse he would never get me sick.’    

The move to shutter indoor dining marks a major blow to the city’s hard-hit restaurants which had only ever been able to reopen at a 25 percent capacity indoors since they first closed back in March.  

The restaurant industry was crippled by months of closures during lockdown while the Big Apple was the epicenter of the global pandemic. 

Outdoor dining has been extended for good so that restaurants and bars can welcome patrons to in-house dining but, with the temperatures dropping, concerns are growing around how some establishments will survive the winter.

The iconic 21 Club became the latest casualty this week when it announced to it 148 employees that it was forced to shut after 90 years in business. 

The five-storey restaurant in the heart of Midtown Manhattan said Friday it was ceasing operations for the foreseeable future and its staff will be terminated by March of next year.  

21 Club opened in 1930, during the height of the Prohibition Era, and become one of the country’s most notorious speakeasies welcoming famous faces and presidents including Franklin D. Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy and Bill Clinton.  

On Friday, Cuomo said he would consider giving out state relief to ailing restaurants and bars but that he was going to wait to see what the federal government offers the industry first. 

‘I understand the hardship. I suffer every last dollar with these businesses. They have a deficit, we have a deficit,’ he said. 

‘Every dollar a business loses, we lose a percentage of that dollar. When you’re doing the calibration of the economic activity, you look at the risk level… It’s not forever.’ 

He added: ‘I believe the federal government should include subsidies for bars and restaurants in their relief package. 

Diners in California eat take-out food outdoors at a ‘public parklet’ due to Covid-19 restrictions on restaurant outdoor dining in Manhattan Beach

A ‘Public Parklet’ sign shows the public dining spot’s rules including that it is closed from 10 p.m. to 7:30 a.m. 

Diners sidestep the ban on outdoor dining in LA by dining in so-called ‘parklets’ in Manhattan Beach 

In Manhattan Beach, Los Angeles County, city officials have been working with restaurants and the public to create spaces where people can effectively dine outdoors but that falls within the scope of the outdoor dining ban in the county

Diners were seen enjoying the newly created outdoor public seating areas that have been set up for them to take their takeout meals

‘If we are in a situation in this state to provide business relief and we have any funds and resources that would allow us to do that I would be 100 percent supportive of it and I’ve advocated for it… I believe the federal government should include subsidies for bars and restaurants. If we’re in a situation to provide relief, we’ll have to wait and see.’  

Restaurant owners told DailyMail.com Friday they may have to lay off their staff – who they’d hoped to keep on through the holiday period – in light of Cuomo’s decision which they called ‘inexplicable’ and ‘a disgrace’. 

They said Cuomo’s decision would do nothing to stop the spread and would only send more people into private gatherings while delivering a fatal blow to them. 

State contact tracing data released Friday shows restaurants and bars account for just 1.43 percent of exposures to COVID-19.  

Diners in California are also unhappy after Governor Newsom implemented a new bout of restrictions there, with many trying to sidestep the rules by dining in so-called ‘parklets’.  

In Manhattan Beach, Los Angeles County, city officials have been working with restaurants and the public to create outdoor public seating spaces where people can effectively dine outdoors.

The ‘parklets’ fall outside the scope of the outdoor dining ban in the county because public outdoor seating areas are not banned and because the areas are not operated by the restaurants themselves but by the city. 

Signs around the areas – many of which are sectioned off areas with outdoor seating – designate them a ‘public parklet’ and shows the public dining spot’s rules including social distancing and that they are closed from 10 p.m. to 7:30 a.m.

Diners were seen enjoying the newly created outdoor public seating areas that have been set up for them to take their takeout meals. 

This comes after LA County banned outdoor dining on November 25 resigning struggling restaurants to takeout and delivery only for the first time since May. 

Nationwide, hospitalizations hit a record high for the seventh day in a row Saturday with 108,487 patients recorded, according to the COVID Tracking Project.

This comes after the US marked its deadliest day since the pandemic began Friday, with more than 3,300 deaths. 

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