Cuomo Says New York City Indoor Dining Will Close Monday

Governor Andrew Cuomo will close indoor dining at New York City restaurants after coronavirus statistics surpassed benchmarks. Outdoor dining and takeout can continue.

Transmission of the virus is increasing in denser areas, Cuomo said Friday at a briefing in Albany, and the governor said he would tighten rules that determine when regions must lock down. New York City’s restaurants are the most extreme example, he said.

“We learned this lesson in the spring the hard way,” Cuomo said. “The crowding is a problem.”

New York City’s daily rate of hospitalizations is 2.48 per 100,000 residents, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Friday. It has been above a threshold of 2 per 100,000 for several days.

De Blasio reported 2,559 new cases, “way too high,” and a seven-day average percentage of positive tests of 5.35%.

“Indicators have all unfortunately surpassed their thresholds,” the mayor said at a virus briefing. He said he supports the governor’s new restrictions “100%,” adding, “We have to protect against the worst.”

Cuomo said hospitalization rates across the state are increasing dramatically, and called them the “ultimate cause for concern,” even though the death rate has dropped to 8% from 23% in the spring and there are 30% fewer intensive-care patients.

New York’s statewide positivity rate hit 4.98%, another 87 residents died and 5,321 were hospitalized, Cuomo said.

Household gatherings are driving the spread, representing three-quarters of exposures, he said.

New York expects 170,000 doses ofPfizer Inc.’s experimental coronavirus vaccine as soon as Monday, and the state will get 346,000 doses of aModerna Inc. vaccine the week of Dec. 21, the governor said. He said at least three-quarters of residents must get the shots for the program to be effective.

“We have half the population saying they don’t want to take a vaccine. That’s a problem,” Cuomo said.

Cuomo said he hopes the crisis will stabilize by late January.

“When does it end? It ends when vaccine hits a critical mass. It could be June, but that’s a long six months,” he said.

— With assistance by Martin Z Braun

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