NY to extend curfew to 11 p.m. for bars, restaurants as COVID cases decline. What to know
New York is extending the curfew for bars and restaurants to 11 p.m. beginning Sunday, allowing establishments to stay open another hour on Valentine's Day and beyond, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Friday.
The move came after a federal judge on Wednesday upheld the current 10 p.m. curfew for bars and restaurants, citing the continued threat of COVID-19 and Cuomo's broad authority to require early closures to protect public health.
Cuomo on Friday asserted the curfew could be extended given the continued decline in hospitalization and infection rates throughout New York.
The statewide seven-day average COVID-19 test positivity rate is 4.04%, the lowest since Nov. 30, Cuomo said, adding the rate has seen 35 consecutive days of decline.
There were 7,068 patient hospitalizations statewide, the lowest since Dec. 25, and hospitalizations were down 869 in the past week, according to the governor's office.
"We will continue to follow the science and react accordingly," Cuomo said in a statement. "If we keep the infections down and vaccinations up, we will continue to stay ahead in the footrace against this invisible enemy."
Melissa Fleischut, president and CEO of the New York State Restaurant Association, described the extended curfew as another step towards reviving the pandemic-ravaged industry.
"After a year of incredible economic hardships, every guest counts right now, she said in a statement. "Loosening the curfew will allow operators to comfortably seat guests at 9 p.m., bringing in business that had previously been cut off."
The announcement came the same day that indoor dining in New York City was permitted to reopen at 25% capacity as part of the recent push to ease pandemic restrictions.
New York state will also allow sports arenas and other large entertainment venues to open Feb. 23 at 10% capacity with mandatory COVID-19 testing requirements and other coronavirus safety precautions.