New York

COVID Restrictions: New York City Restaurants Can Increase Capacity, New Jersey Raises Gathering Limits

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — COVID restrictions are being lifted Friday across New York and New Jersey, as the Tri-State Area gets ready for a major step toward reopening later this month.

In New York City, indoor dining capacity goes to 75%. The same goes for personal care services.

READ MORE: Families Reunite With Loved Ones At MetLife Stadium After Long, Emotional Year Of COVID

In New Jersey, outdoor gatherings can go up to 500 people, with outdoor capacity for large events going up to 50%.

There can be 50% capacity indoors, with a max of 250 people for private events, and certain dance floors can reopen — just in time for prom.

It’s the next step as businesses prepare for May 19, when most capacity restrictions will be lifted altogether.

Heshem Edris owns Gardenia Terrance of 10th Avenue and told CBS2 his indoor capacity will go from 35 people to about 70.

READ MORE: COVID Vaccine In NYC: Mayor De Blasio Wants City To Offer Johnson & Johnson Shot To Tourists

“We are very, very excited, because it’s about time just to get back on our feet,” he said.

Businesses will still have to operate in a way that guarantees unvaccinated people can keep six feet of social distancing. Many wonder, if that’s the case, can they really fit more people inside?

“For restaurants, if they want to go within six feet or less, we’ve always had a rule in place that allows them to put physical barriers in place,” said a member of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s team.

“If you have an operating plan for vaccinated people, then you can operate at less than six feet,” the governor added.

Despite the challenges, there’s hope to get back to some normalcy after a rough year.

MORE NEWS: COVID Progress: NYS Legislature Considering Bill Allowing Pharmacies To Administer All Vaccines Recommended By CDC

“The excitement is here for the summer. I think people are all moving in the right direction,” bar owner Bob Fahey said.

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