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Bars, restaurants and gyms in New York face new restrictions due to Covid-19 increase

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said stepped-up action is necessary to curtail the spread of Covid-19.
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New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday announced new restrictions on restaurants, bars and gyms as his state struggles to contain new spikes of coronavirus.

"Any establishment with a state liquor license, including bars and restaurants, must close" for in-person dining at 10 p.m., starting on Friday night, Cuomo announced.

Restaurants can still make food for delivery and takeout after 10 p.m., under the governor's directive.

"The reason we have been successful in reducing the spread in New York is we have been a step ahead of Covid," the governor said. "You know where it's going; stop it before it gets there. And you know where it's going by following the science."

Currently in New York City, restaurants are allowed to have their outdoor dining open until 11 p.m. and indoor — at just 25 percent capacity — as late as midnight.

“Today’s news is a huge blow to the restaurant industry that is desperately trying to stay afloat," New York State Restaurant Association president and CEO Melissa Fleischut said in statement. "Our members have put in place procedures and protocols to mitigate the spread, and we’ll continue to do so to ensure the safety of our employees and patrons."

The group called for Cuomo to take a more targeted approach, and crack down only on regions with Covid-19 hotspots.

"We understand the logic behind micro-cluster restrictions, but at this time we have concerns about blanket statewide restrictions like this,” Fleischut said.

Wednesday's decree by Cuomo includes gyms, which now also must close at 10 p.m., starting on Friday.

Furthermore, Cuomo ordered that all "indoor gatherings at private residences" must be limited to a maximum of 10 people.

Right now, the indoor limit at a private residence is 50.

"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.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, who frequently bickers with Cuomo, appeared to back Albany's plan here, as he tweeted: "In New York City, bars, restaurants and gyms will close at 10 PM daily, beginning this Friday. This is what needs to happen to help hold back a second wave in our city."

Cuomo's orders come weeks before the Thanksgiving holiday, for which public health officials have been urging against large family gatherings at home.