Governor Cuomo announced at a teleconference Sundy that restaurants outside of New York City can open at 75% capacity beginning on March 19. New York City restaurants will remain at 35% capacity.
"We think that 75% is what the consumer is ready for," Governor Cuomo said. "All the same safety capacities remain in effect. But we will go to 75%."
The decision comes as the state's infection and hospitalization rates continue to drop. Hospitalizations are down 19% over the past two weeks in New York. Restaurants have been operating at 50 percent capacity. The news was welcomed with open arms by local restaurant owners.
"I think it's wonderful," said Rufus Ventura, the owner of Ventura's restaurant in Utica. "This is going to help us tremendously."
Ventura's and other restaurants have struggled during the pandemic, but with this announcement, Ventura is ready to welcome back its customers.
"I'm here waiting," Ventura said. "And the whole staff is waiting to see our customers we haven't seen in a year."