Customers of New York City restaurants may not enter establishments for any reason. That was the headline from the mayor's office Thursday evening when a updated list of dining rules for the city's restaurants was released.
One rule in particular received immediate backlash and confusion: no restroom access. "Customers may not enter the inside of the establishment for any reason," the order tweeted out by the mayor's legal counsel read.
Mayor Bill de Blasio clarified the rule during his daily coronavirus briefing on Friday, reassuring New Yorkers that restrooms would be open for customer use.
"Every one of us needs to use the restroom sometimes. There's no question that was a mistake," the mayor said at his Friday briefing. "If you are patronizing the restaurant, you have a right to use the bathroom."
The state liquor authority updated its guidance for New York City dining which included the clarification that diners could use restrooms but must wear appropriate face coverings.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo's top aide, Melissa DeRosa, said it was unclear why the city released the rules (indoor dining orders are issued by the state, not the city).
"The city issued what they issued yesterday without consulting us or asking for clarification and then obviously we saw the news reports and as soon as we did the head of the SLA, Vince Bradley, this morning put out a clarifying statement," DeRosa explained Friday.
Other rules were included in the order to keep patrons out of restaurants. From now on, diners must place takeout orders remotely, by phone or online, and cannot do so in person. Additionally, customers must pickup their orders curbside and must not enter the establishment to get their order.
Outdoor dining was briefing suspended during the winter storm but resumed Thursday at 6 p.m.
The rules set by the state were effective as of Dec. 14.