Cuomo Says New York City Indoor Dining Will Close Monday
(Bloomberg) -- Governor Andrew Cuomo will close indoor dining at New York City restaurants, dealing a new blow to social and economic life after coronavirus statistics swept past benchmarks.
Transmission of the virus is increasing in denser areas, Cuomo said Friday at a briefing in Albany, and the governor said he would tighten rules that determine when regions must lock down. New York City’s restaurants are the most extreme example, he said.
“We learned this lesson in the spring the hard way,” Cuomo said, noting that New York City presents a more worrisome problem if the virus spreads again like it did last spring because of the city’s density. “The crowding is a problem.”
Outdoor dining and takeout can continue, he said.
New York City’s daily rate of hospitalizations is 2.48 per 100,000 residents, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Friday. It has been above a threshold of 2 per 100,000 for several days.
De Blasio reported 2,559 new cases, “way too high,” and a seven-day average percentage of positive tests of 5.35%.
“Indicators have all unfortunately surpassed their thresholds,” the mayor said at a virus briefing. He said he supports Cuomo’s new restrictions “100%,” adding, “We have to protect against the worst.”
Restaurants must shoulder the economic pain awhile longer until the city can get the virus under control, De Blasio said.
“If you take an action now, you can stop much worse things from happening later,” de Blasio said. “I feel tremendous empathy for a restaurant owners. A lot of them are mom-and-pop businesses.”
“We want them to survive. We need them to survive.”
Cuomo said hospitalization rates across the state are increasing dramatically, and called them the “ultimate cause for concern,” even though the death rate has dropped to 8% from 23% in the spring and there are 30% fewer intensive-care patients.
New York’s statewide positivity rate hit 4.98%, another 87 residents died and 5,321 were hospitalized, Cuomo said.
Household gatherings are driving the spread, representing three-quarters of exposures, he said.
New York expects 170,000 doses of Pfizer Inc.’s experimental coronavirus vaccine as soon as Monday, and the state will get 346,000 doses of a Moderna Inc. vaccine the week of Dec. 21, the governor said. He said at least three-quarters of residents must get the shots for the program to be effective.
“We have half the population saying they don’t want to take a vaccine. That’s a problem,” Cuomo said.
Cuomo said he hopes the crisis will stabilize by late January.
“When does it end? It ends when vaccine hits a critical mass. It could be June, but that’s a long six months,” he said.
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