New York

NYC Wants You to Follow These Guidelines if You Choose to Dine Indoors

With capacity increasing to 35% on February 26, it’s more important than ever to not let your guard down.

After nearly two months of closure, Gov. Andrew Cuomo allowed New York City restaurants to resume indoor dining services with a 25% capacity on February 12. While the hospitality industry desperately needs the extra revenue—a recent survey revealed that 92% of NYC restaurants couldn't afford rent in December—there's still widespread fear that Cuomo's decision will create another spike in COVID-19 cases, which have steadily declined since early January.

And with infection rates continuing to decrease across the city, in a recent press conference, Gov. Cuomo announced that starting on February 26, local restaurants will be allowed to increase their indoor dining capacity to 35%. “The numbers are all going down, so now is the time to start doing more reopening,” said Cuomo.

In an effort to help reduce the risk of eating indoors, NYC officials released the following safety guidelines that diners should follow before, during, and after visiting a restaurant.

MORE: NYC Restaurant Workers Can Now Get the COVID-19 Vaccine

Before You Go Out

1. Limit the size of your group.
Keep your party to four or fewer people, and only invite members of your household or immediate bubble.

2. Confirm that nobody has symptoms.
If anyone in your group is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, or has recently been exposed to someone with the coronavirus, delay your outing until everyone's in the clear. What's the rush?

3. Get tested.
Encourage everyone in your group to get tested. Free, rapid testing is widely available. Find the most convenient testing site here.

At the Restaurant

4. Make sure the restaurant is taking precautions.
To ensure a safe experience, see that the restaurant is following protocol before getting seated. That means it's not too crowded, employees are correctly and consistently wearing face covers, tables are spaced at least 6 feet apart, and there are no self-serve buffet areas.

5. Wear your face cover whenever you can.
Wear it when you arrive, wear it when you are seated, wear it whenever staff members approach the table. Only take your face cover off when you are actively eating or drinking.

6. Wash your hands.
Before you eat, after you use the bathroom, just because... wash your hands frequently and thoroughly.

7. Keep your distance from other diners.
Stay at your table whenever possible to maintain social distance between you and other guests.

After You Dine

8. Keep a record of your excursion.
Take notes of where you went, when you went, and who you went with. If you test positive later on, you can report these details to your contact tracer and help them alert anyone else who may have been exposed.

9. Get COVID tested regularly.
Even if you don't have symptoms, NYC officials now recommend getting tested for COVID-19 at least once per month. Testing sites are easy to track down on nyc.gov/COVIDtest.

Following each of these steps may sound tedious, but considering what's at stake, they're important guidelines to follow. Here's to hoping we achieve herd immunity soon.

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Kyler Alvord is a news writer at Thrillist. Find him on Twitter and Instagram. Or don't. It's really up to you.
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