ALBANY, N.Y. (UPDATED) – The midnight curfew on bars and restaurants will be lifted next month, according to Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
These establishments have had some of the strictest health and safety guidelines to follow since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, including limits on food and drink services, capacity restrictions and curfews which were most recently extended from 11 p.m. to midnight earlier this month.
The midnight curfew will be lifted for outdoor areas on May 17, and indoor areas beginning May 31.
NEW: Beginning May 17, the 12am outdoor dining area curfew for bars & restaurants will be lifted.
The 12am indoor area curfew will be lifted on May 31.
— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) April 28, 2021
For catered events, the 1 a.m. curfew will be lifted May 17 if proof of vaccination or negative COVID-19 tests are required. Then on May 31, the curfew will be lifted entirely.
Cuomo says starting May 3, people can have catered events at their residences above the gathering limits of 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors, as long as the events are "staffed by a professional, licensed caterer, permitted by the respective locality or municipality, and strictly adhere to health and safety guidance, including social and event gathering limits, masks, and social distancing."
Also starting May 3, the “dance zones” put in place for catered events, like weddings, will be no more as long as all guests wear masks and practice social distancing.
"Everything we've been doing is working - all the arrows are pointing in the right direction and now we're able to increase economic activity even more. Lifting these restrictions for restaurants, bars and catering companies will allow these businesses that have been devastated by the pandemic to begin to recover as we return to a new normal in a post-pandemic world,” said Cuomo. “To be clear: we will only be able to maintain this progress if everyone gets the COVID vaccine. It is the weapon that will win the war and we need everyone to take it, otherwise we risk going backward."
As more people get vaccinated across New York, the state has been relaxing restrictions put in place earlier on in the pandemic.
On Monday, Cuomo announced capacity at large-scale outdoor event venues would increase from 20% to 33% starting May 19.
Also, starting May 15:
- Gyms and fitness centers outside of New York City will increase from 33% to 50% capacity.
- Casinos and gaming facilities will increase from 25% to 50% capacity.
- Offices will increase from 50% to 75% capacity.