Outdoor dining returned to Long Island in June following a three-month coronavirus shutdown. Photo by Mira Lerner.

Restaurateurs rejoice!

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Sunday that he will allow eateries to operate indoors at 75 percent capacity starting March 19, an order the legislature now has the power to block if they have 50 percent opposition. That includes restaurants statewide, except for in New York City.

“It’s not just good news for the restaurant owners, remember you have a lot of good restaurants,” Cuomo said. “There are a lot of jobs for a lot of suppliers. So we’ll go to 75 percent.

“We also think that 75 percent is what the consumer is ready for, all the same safety capacities remain in effect,” he continued. “As a caveat. Between now and March 19, if the numbers change, if something happens, if there’s a downturn then obviously, we will adjust with the new law that the legislature passed. We will make this public, the legislature has five days to review the change.”

The announcement follows the state of Connecticut allowing 100 percent indoor dining capacity as of the same date and Massachusetts allowing the same amount on March 1.

But there’s one snag for the dining scene in the five boroughs: they must keep capacity at 35 percent while the rest of the state opens up.

Cuomo had ordered all restaurants halt indoor dining last March to curb the spread of coronavirus. In June, outdoor dining was allowed to return, and limited indoor dining was approved after that.

This story first appeared on amny.com

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