New York Sets New Record Low COVID Infection Rate as Fate of Indoor Dining Looms

Indoor dining and malls in New York City remain the last two major business sectors shut down amid the pandemic

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What to Know

  • Gov. Andrew Cuomo says the state is evaluating data daily as far as reopening NYC indoor dining, casinos and state movie theaters
  • He noted business compliance had improved in NYC, which may indicate an announcement on indoor dining could come sooner rather than later
  • New York state saw its 21st straight day with a daily COVID test positivity rate below 1 percent on Friday, which also marked the lowest single-day positivity rate in months (0.65 percent)

Gov. Andrew Cuomo could lend more insight as early as next week into the fate of indoor dining in New York City, as well as casino and movie theaters across the rest of the state, which have been closed for five-plus months amid the pandemic.

The governor hinted in a conference call with reporters Thursday that those reopening decisions were under "daily" evaluation -- and that decisions would be made "at the approriate time." Shortly before that, he noted that business compliance in New York City had significantly improved in recent weeks, which could indicate an announcement on indoor dining sooner rather than later.

Cuomo didn't give any timeline for making or announcing his decision -- he described it all as a "fluid" situation -- but Thursday marked the first time in more than a month that he commended New York City for improved compliance rather than condemned it for poor compliance.

He said two Queens establishments had been cited the night before. That compares with dozens of citations a night in New York City in recent weeks. On Thursday, though, there were nine: three in the Bronx, one in Brooklyn, one in Queens and four on Staten Island. Still, those nine violators accounted for just 0.6 percent of the 1,300-plus establishments the State Liquor Authority and State Police Task Force visited in New York City and Long Island Thursday night.

Indoor dining, along with malls, in New York City remain the last major business sectors shut down. The return of both in the five boroughs was delayed by heightened national concerns over increased virus exposure risk in those kinds of place. Those concerns are triple threat in the densely populated New York City as it continues its rebound from being the epicenter of the national COVID crisis.

Daily Percentage of Positive Tests by New York Region

Gov. Andrew Cuomo breaks the state into 10 regions for testing purposes and tracks positivity rates to identify potential hotspots. Here's the latest tracking data by region and for the five boroughs. For the latest county-level results statewide, click here


Gyms were only recently allowed to return in New York and will begin to reopen in the city next week following inspections. New Jersey gyms can open next week, Gov. Phil Murphy said, under strict guidelines. Dine-in is still shelved there.

New York and New Jersey, with the exception of a few weeks for the latter, have maintained low virus rates amid their phased reopenings. New York state hit 21 straight days of a daily COVID test positivity rate below 1 percent on Friday, which also marked the lowest single-day positivity rate in months (0.65 percent). Even the city has consistently seen daily positivity rates of 1 percent or below.

The city launched a sprawling Open Restaurants initiative to support outdoor dining, with indoor postponed indefinitely. Thousands of restaurants participate and, while the weather stays warm, thousands of patrons continue to enjoy al fresco. Outdoor dining hasn't been without its issues, though.

There have been multiple reports of cars crashing into outdoor dining areas, which now consume city sidewalks, curbs and even parts of busy streets. The most recent accident happened Thursday in Brooklyn. One woman was hurt.

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