New York Puts Indoor Dining On Hold

restaurant table

New York City restaurant patrons who were hoping to dine in on Monday (July 6) as the city enters the next phase of its reopening will have to wait.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has postponed meals served in dining rooms as he updated New Yorkers on the state’s progress during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

“New York City is a crowded, dense urban area and, until recently, was the global epicenter of the COVID-19 crisis,” the Democratic governor said in a Sunday (July 5) statement.  “Out of an abundance of caution and after seeing other states’ experiences with indoor dining, we will wait to reopen it as the city moves to Phase Three tomorrow.”

In his daily televised press briefing, Cuomo said there are 817 coronavirus hospitalizations statewide, the lowest number since mid-March.

Eight people died of COVID-19 in New York on Sunday, according to the state’s news release. At its highest level in April, the daily death total in the state was as many as 731 deaths.

Of the 54,000 tests conducted on Sunday, less than 1 percent were positive, he said.

“The numbers have actually declined since reopening,” he said. “Every expert warned the state could see the numbers go up because of the increased activity.”

The governor insisted the numbers are falling because of the state’s phased approach to reopening while taking into account all the available data.

Still, New York leads the nation in the number of COVID-19 deaths at 32,206, followed by New Jersey with 15,211 and Massachusetts with 8,183.

Cuomo wondered aloud how a virus became a political issue. He made a point of urging President Donald Trump to acknowledge COVID-19 is still a crisis in the U.S. and asked that he wear a mask.

“If he doesn’t do that, then he is enabling the virus,” Cuomo said.

In New England, Kowloon Restaurant, a 50-year-old establishment on Route 1 north of Boston, is adapting to the new rules around indoor dining. The iconic Chinese restaurant has seating for 1,200 diners but for now, many will remain empty.

But given its multiple acre parking lot, third-generation owner Bob Wong recently came up with two ideas to make a profit amid the Massachusetts lockdown and subsequent indoor dining restrictions.

Think drive-in movies coupled with a payment system by Paytronix, the Newton, Massachusetts mobile app that allows for contactless dining, from menu selection through ordering and payments.

“Restaurants are always thinking about creative ways to fill in the cash flow gaps, and I’m tremendously impressed by it,” Paytronix CEO Andrew Robbins Robbins told PYMNTS. “I look at restaurateurs as just being the most entrepreneurial people in the world. So, when Bob is talking and saying he saw people bring in lawn chairs to sit outside, I said, well, why don’t we help cater to that? And the next thing you know, there’s another thing … and now he’s got the movie-theater-carhop thing going.”