New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) on Monday signaled that the Phase III reopening process in New York City may not include indoor dining.
The potential pause on moving toward indoor dining comes after Florida and Texas both closed down bars late last week amid surging COVID-19 infections in the two states.
Both Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio initially said that all five boroughs of the city are slated to enter Phase III on July 6, which would reopen indoor dining and personal care services at reduced capacity in addition to outdoor recreation facilities.
Cuomo’s tune changed during a briefing on Monday, saying that indoor dining has proved to be “problematic” due to how the coronavirus would spread in closed, indoor areas using air conditioning.
After noting that outdoor dining has “worked very well all across the state,” including New York City, Cuomo said that he has spoken to restaurant owners about the risk reward on indoor dining.
Cuomo went on to cite the recent spike in coronavirus cases in several states in arguing why indoor dining presents “a real issue.”
“Our reopenings have worked very well, we’re not going backwards, we’re going forward,” Cuomo said. “A lot of these other states have actually had to go backwards, they started to reopen and then they had to stop.”
Cuomo then said that a final decision on indoor dining will be made by Wednesday so that “people who operate those types of businesses will know what we’re doing.”
Earlier Monday, Cuomo warned that he’s considering slowing down the reopenings of malls and indoor dining during a call-in interview with NY1.
“Not going backwards, but we may actually slow them down,” Cuomo told NY1 Monday morning.
Cuomo isn’t alone in reconsidering the reopenings of bars and restaurants.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) announced on Sunday that he’s ordering bars to close in several counties throughout the state, which include the populous Los Angeles County, in light of a rise in coronavirus cases. On Saturday, California reported an increase of nearly 6,000 confirmed cases from the previous day.
NEW: Due to the rising spread of #COVID19, CA is ordering bars to close in Fresno, Imperial, Kern, Kings, Los Angeles, San Joaquin, and Tulare, while recommending they close in Contra Costa, Riverside, Sacramento, San Bernardino, Santa Barbara, Santa Clara, Stanislaus, & Ventura.
— Gavin Newsom (@GavinNewsom) June 28, 2020
Last week, Cuomo ripped into Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) as his state emerged as a coronavirus hotspot. Cuomo said that DeSantis and other Republican governors “played politics with this virus and you lost” for their approach to easing up coronavirus-related restrictions.
Watch Cuomo’s remarks below: