New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday announced new restrictions starting Friday that include daily closing times for New York bars, restaurants, and gyms, citing COVID-19 concerns.
The restrictions, which take effect on Friday 10 p.m., require that bars, restaurants, and gyms or fitness centers, as well as any State Liquor Authority-licensed establishment, be closed from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. daily.
Restaurants will still be allowed to provide curbside, food-only pick-up or delivery after 10 p.m. but will not be permitted to serve alcohol to go.
Gatherings at private residences will also be limited to 10 people, the governor announced, citing “recent prevalence of COVID spread resulting from small indoor gatherings including Halloween parties,” which have become “a major cause of cluster activity” across the state.
“If you look at where the cases are coming from, if you do the contact tracing, you’ll see they’re coming from three main areas: establishments where alcohol is served, gyms, and indoor gatherings at private homes,” Cuomo said in a statement.
“The reason we have been successful in reducing the spread in New York is we have been a step ahead of COVID. You know where it’s going; stop it before it gets there. And you know where it’s going by following the science. This is the calibration that we’ve talked about: increase economic activity, watch the positivity rate—if the positivity rate starts to go up, back off on the economic activity. It was never binary—economic activity or public health—it was always both.”
Cuomo also said that enforcement of the new restrictions was needed for them to be effective.
“The rules are only as good as the enforcement. Local governments are in charge of enforcement,” he said. “There are only two fundamental truths in this situation: it’s individual discipline and it’s government enforcement. Period. End of sentence. I need the local governments to enforce this.”
The measures come amid an increase in cases throughout the country, including in New York state. On Tuesday, 4,820 people tested positive from 164,300 COVID-19 tests conducted, representing a 2.93 percent positivity rate. Current hospitalizations in the state stands at 1,628, according to Cuomo. He also said that there were 21 COVID-19 deaths on Tuesday.
According to the COVID Tracking Project, New York saw 3,965 new cases on Wednesday. The state has seen 89,995 hospitalizations, of which almost 90 percent or 80,854 patients recovered. A total of 536,145 cases have been recorded, of which 26,005 have died.