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New York City will allow restaurants to open for indoor dining after a group of more than 300 owners filed a $2 billion class-action lawsuit

New York Chinatown business pandemic
Irene Jiang/Business Insider
  • New York City will lift its ban on indoor dining, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced on Wednesday.
  • Restaurants will be allowed to reopen dining rooms at 25% capacity starting September 30.
  • This comes soon after over 300 restaurant owners filed a class-action lawsuit against Governor Cuomo and NYC Mayor Bill De Blasio for delaying indoor dining in the city.
  • While there is a scientific consensus that indoor dining is riskier than outdoor dining, many Americans feel ready to return to restaurant dining rooms.
  • Visit Business Insider's 合约数字币和虚拟币homepage for more stories.

New York will lift its ban on indoor dining in New York City, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced on Wednesday.

Restaurants will be allowed to open their dining rooms to 25% capacity on September 30, Cuomo said. Outdoor dining has been indefinitely on July 1 even as other locales opened up.

At the end of August, more than 300 New York City restauranteurs filed a class-action lawsuit against Governor Cuomo and Mayor De Blasio seeking $2 billion in damages. Before that lawsuit was filed, the New York Hospitality Alliance had relatively low  since June. Meanwhile, other parts of the country that reopened indoor dining during the summer have seen a spike in cases, with some forced to shut down economic activity a second time. 

But despite a general consensus among epidemiologists that indoor dining is riskier than outdoor dining, many Americans seem to be ready to return to restaurant dining rooms.

A recent survey of over 1,000 consumers by restaurant analytics company Toast found that 58% of respondents said they would be at least somewhat comfortable dining at a restaurant indoors. When compared to 72% of respondents that said they would be at least somewhat comfortable dining outdoors, the difference is significant but not overwhelming.

Still, indoor dining won't be a silver bullet for New York's beleaguered restaurant industry. Many restaurants don't turn a profit unless their dining rooms are full or mostly full. While some have pivoted to focus on delivery and takeout, for most restaurants, a return to pre-COVID levels of income remains a distant dream.

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