We all know the Covid-19 pandemic has devastated small businesses and hit some industries like hospitality and tourism incredibly hard. After a painful fourteen months, many onerous restrictions placed on nightlife and hospitality will be lifted, with some Covid-19 related amendments in place. First and foremost the New York State Legislature moved to suspend the requirement that customers order food at restaurants and bars in order to be served alcohol. This was a costly regulation on establishments that was zealously enforced by the State Liquor Authority (SLA). The legislature should create an amnesty for establishments that received such fines. In response, Governor Cuomo announced the following changes:
- Bar seating can resume in New York City starting May 3rd if all social distancing measures are followed.
- Dancing at catered events can move away from designated pods but all those dancing must remain masked and adhere to social distancing measures starting May 3rd.
- Catered events can resume at residences beginning May 3rd above the State’s residential gathering limit of 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors. Although these events must be staffed by a licensed caterer.
- The curfew for outdoor dining will be lifted beginning May 17th.
- The curfew for events where guests have been tested or vaccinated will be lifted May 17th.
- The curfew for all other events will be lifted May 31st.
- The curfew for indoor dining will be lifted beginning May 31st.
“Lifting these restrictions for restaurants, bars and catering companies will allow these businesses that have been devastated by the pandemic to begin to recover as we return to a new normal in a post-pandemic world,” the governor said in a statement.
Not to be outdone by Albany, Mayor Bill de Blasio announces that New York City plans to “fully reopen” on July 1, with no restrictions on restaurants, retail, or any other business. “This is going to be the summer of New York City”, the mayor said.
Also, the Small Business Administration (SBA) announced that the Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF) will begin Friday, April 30 at 9 AM Eastern and SBA will begin accepting applications via the application portal on Monday, May 3 at 12 PM Eastern. The application portal will remain open to any eligible establishment until all funds are exhausted.