“This is not about throwing caution to the wind or rejecting measures to protect public health. It is about striking a balance,” he said in floor remarks. “It is about common sense. It’s about respect for businesses and respect for New Yorkers.”
Cuomo spokesperson Rich Azzopardi said the state was “in the process” of lifting the food service requirement, given the decline in Covid-19 cases. “We are pleased that the legislature agrees that we have made enough progress on COVID that New York is in a position to repeal this provision,” he said in a statement.
As for the outdated vaccine penalties, Azzopardi said, the state “previously repealed half of them and repealed the rest in our last [executive order].”
Curfew changes: Ahead of Wednesday’s session, Cuomo announced that the state will lift the midnight curfew for outdoor dining areas beginning May 17 and for indoor dining areas on May 31. A 1 a.m. curfew for catered events will similarly be lifted beginning on May 17 for events where attendees have provided proof of vaccination status or a negative Covid-19 test, and on May 31 for all catered events.
New York will also allow larger catered events to resume at residences as of May 3, as long as they are staffed by licensed caterers, permitted by local officials and adhere to safety guidance.
The governor further said that beginning May 3, New York City establishments can allow seating at bars consistent with the food service guidance in effect statewide.
Melissa Fleischut, president and CEO of the New York State Restaurant Association, said the change will bring New York in line with many neighboring states.
“With vaccinations going up and positivity rates going down, the hospitality industry can set our sights on rebounding this spring and summer as we scratch and claw our way back to profitability, which for many has seemed impossible,” she said in a statement.
Gianaris said the governor’s announcement appears to be “the direct result” of the Legislature’s move to begin repealing executive orders issued at the height of the pandemic. He added that the governor “was not at all pleased” by leadership’s decision to repeal his executive orders.
But Lawler argued that the curfew changes are essentially another month-long extension of the policy. And Assemblymember Ed Ra (R-Franklin Square) urged lawmakers to immediately end the curfew.
“There’s no reason to wait. Families who own these establishments have already suffered too much and waited for too long,” he said in a statement.