Valentine's Day return for New York City indoor dining

New York (AFP) –


Limited indoor dining is set to resume in New York City from Valentine's Day, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Friday, as coronavirus cases in the Big Apple continue to fall.

Cuomo said restaurants will be allowed to seat customers indoors at 25 percent capacity from February 14 if declining positivity rates hold.

The announcement provides some relief to New York's battered restaurant and bars, which are struggling to bring in customers during the cold winter months.

The governor said the rate of people testing positive for Covid-19 in the city had fallen from 7.1 percent in early January to 4.9 percent today.

"All the models project that number to continue to drop," Cuomo told reporters.

Indoor dining was first halted in the spring as the virus ravaged New York City, where it has killed more than 26,000 people.

Eating inside resumed in September before being closed again in December, much to the annoyance of beleaguered restaurant owners.

At least 1,000 restaurants have closed in New York due to the pandemic, according to the website Eater.

The closures have put more than 140,000 people out of work, the NYC Hospitality Alliance says.

Cuomo added that based on current trajectories weddings with up to 150 guests would be allowed from March 15.