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Cuomo: NY restaurants outside NYC can go to 75% on March 19

March 8, 2021 GMT

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Restaurants in all of New York state outside of New York City will be allowed to fill three-fourths of their seats starting March 19 as the state gradually loosens coronavirus restrictions, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Sunday.

The move to 75% capacity, up from the current 50%, will take place on the same day that neighboring Connecticut goes to 100% capacity for restaurants, Cuomo said in a conference call with reporters.

“Remember, you have a lot of staff at restaurants, there are a lot of jobs, there are a lot of suppliers, so we’ll go to 75%,” Cuomo said. “We also think that 75% is what the consumer is ready for.”

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The governor did not indicate that the current 35% limit for restaurants in New York City would rise.

The plan to increase restaurant capacity outside of the city will be canceled if coronavirus numbers start to go up again, Cuomo said. He said 59 people died statewide of COVID-19 on Saturday, the lowest one-day death toll since Dec. 6.

Cuomo spoke as some Democrats questioned whether he could continue to lead the state after allegations of sexual harassment. Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said Cuomo should resign.

Cuomo said he would not step down.

The legislature’s passage Friday of a bill to limit Cuomo’s emergency powers means that lawmakers have a say over the plan to raise seating limits at restaurants.

Cuomo said he would sign the bill limiting his executive power and he would discuss the plan to raise restaurant capacity with any lawmakers “who have issues.”

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This story has been updated to correct that The Associated Press erroneously reported that both of the state’s top legislative leaders had called for Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s resignation. Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said Cuomo should resign. Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said Cuomo should “consider whether he can effectively meet the needs of the people of New York,” but did not ask for his resignation.