Cuomo lifts most micro-cluster restrictions; will have a plan for New York restaurants by the end of the week
STATEN ISLAND, NY – Gov. Andrew Cuomo said on Wednesday he would lift restrictions in place for the majority of coronavirus (COVID-19) micro-cluster areas and that there would be a plan for restaurants in New York by the end of the week.
Staten Island will lose its yellow and orange zone designations that have put restrictions on things like businesses and gatherings, and demanded intensified testing for schools. Four yellow zone restrictions will remain in place in parts of the Bronx, Queens, Washington Heights and Orange County.
The borough’s zone designations – the orange zone largely covering the south shore of Staten Island and the yellow zone covering the north coast – had been in place as of November 23.
Cuomo said he made the decision to reflect the waning measures of the coronavirus as the state moves away from the holidays.
“Follow the facts, follow the science and follow the numbers,” Cuomo said. “Micro-cluster zones are down statewide.”
The last time Cuomo announced an update to micro-cluster zones around the state was on December 14.
There are statewide regulations that remain in place, such as capacity limitations at retail stores and testing requirements at businesses like salons, said Secretary to Governor Melissa DeRosa.
“All of these demands that exist as a result of COVID continue,” she said. “It was only the specific rules that applied to the zones.”
Cuomo also said he will meet with New York City elected officials and representatives from his restaurant community to discuss a plan for the future of the industry. He hopes that indoor catering will be able to resume at 25% of its capacity.
The five boroughs remain the only region in the state where restaurants are closed. The decree that closed restaurants inside the city since December 14 is different from what established the micro-cluster strategy.
Cuomo added that the state is motivated to get restaurants and businesses back to full operation, in part because of the tax revenue they will generate for New York.
The closing time for restaurants that have indoor dining remains at 10 p.m. because, Cuomo said, they want to prevent them from becoming social bars.
“It has been economically devastating for a number of businesses, including restaurants, so I want to get them up and running as quickly as possible,” he said.
The governor added that the restrictions remain subject to change based on metrics related to the virus.
He called for caution as more and more strains of the virus are being identified, and reiterated the importance of vaccinations across the country.
“If the facts change, I have no problem looking the people of this state in the eye and saying ‘the facts have changed, our plan has to change,’ Cuomo said. “You can’t have a consistent plan if you don’t have consistent facts.”