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NYC restaurants can serve up to 35% capacity indoors soon

February 19, 2021 GMT

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York City restaurants will be allowed to serve more customers indoors starting Feb. 26.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Friday that New York City indoor dining will be able to expand from 25% capacity to 35% capacity — in line with New Jersey’s current limit.

His announcement came as the state sees an overall drop in hospitalizations to 6,155 as of Thursday, which is down from a winter peak of 9,273 on Jan. 19. Nearly 52,000 people tested positive statewide for COVID-19 in the last seven days, down from 63,000 over the previous week.

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“We are getting past this, but it is still dangerous my friends,” Cuomo said. “And remember it.”

The governor also said his state health agency will provide rapid tests to nursing homes that are eligible to allow for visits. He said his administration will provide guidance for visits Monday.

Federal and state guidance only allows nursing homes to offer visits if they been COVID-19 free for at least 14 days, and many have kept their doors closed amid New York’s winter surge.

Roughly 100 of the 600 nursing homes in New York reported no new cases of COVID-19 infections among residents or staff in the last two weeks of January, according to The Associated Press’ review of federal data.

Cuomo’s efforts to loosen COVID-19 restrictions come as the state reports among the nation’s highest per-capita rates of COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations. And it’s weathering a slower drop than many states.

Hospitalizations declined 13% statewide over the last seven days, but parts of New York City saw smaller drops.

Manhattan, Bronx and Brooklyn hospitals together reported 2,441 COVID-19 patients as of Thursday, down 5% from Feb. 11.

And infections are rising in three boroughs. Bronx, Staten Island and Queens reported 16,800 new COVID-19 infections in the past week. That’s up 4% from the previous seven days.