A decision on whether indoor dining can return in New York City will be made by the end of September, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Wednesday.
“I think it’s our responsibility to give them as clear an answer in the month of September as possible of where we’re going,” he said at his daily press briefing.
“If there can be a timeline, if there can be a set of standards for reopening, we need to decide that in the next few weeks and announce it, whether it’s good news or bad news.”
The mayor has dug in his heels on the issue of restarting indoor dining, saying it’s led to an increase of coronavirus cases in other parts of the country — a point he reiterated on Wednesday.
“A number of states moved ahead with indoor dining and found that it contributed to either their ongoing problem or resurgence,” Hizzoner said. “Unfortunately, what we see around the country, what we see around the world, is there’s a direct connection.”
He acknowledged that the issue is “more profound” with indoor bars and nightclubs but said “indoor restaurants are still sensitive.”
“We’re also working very closely with the state of New York,” de Blasio said. “The state, like the city, are both taking a very cautious approach here.”
On Monday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo also refused to budge on bringing back indoor dining in the city, saying his focus was on keeping the coronavirus infection rate “under control.”
Cuomo’s budget director Robert Mujica said there was “no specific metric” on what needed to happen to greenlight the activity.
Eating inside restaurants has already resumed in every other region in New York state, including Nassau and Suffolk counties, and New Jersey announced it’s bringing it back starting Friday.
And Nassau County, Long Island, is actively looking to poach diners from the five boroughs.
Earlier this week, de Blasio hinted that indoor dining in the Big Apple wouldn’t resume until there was a COVID-19 vaccine.