Indoor Dining Returns to N.Y.C. After 6 Months

By Troy Closson

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It’s Thursday.

Weather: A nice day: Sunny, with scattered clouds and a high in the low 70s.

Alternate-side parking: In effect until Saturday (Sukkot). Read about the amended regulations here.

After more than six months of empty dining rooms, restaurants across New York City just moved a little closer back to normal.

Indoor dining was allowed to restart citywide at 25 percent capacity on Wednesday in a major milestone in the recovery from the coronavirus pandemic. While the reopening will probably not be enough to save some of the spots that have relied on takeout and outdoor tables since mid-March, Mayor Bill de Blasio was cautiously optimistic.

“It’s crucial, of course, to bringing back more jobs and helping businesses to survive,” Mr. de Blasio said. “But health and safety, as always, come first.”

[Read more about how the first day of indoor dining in six months went.]

Here’s what you need to know about the reopening of indoor dining:

The return was filled with celebration and trepidation.

At noon on Wednesday, Aroma Brazil, a restaurant in Queens, had only three diners inside. In the Bronx, where the Mexican restaurant Xochimilco once held 40 customers, it could now only admit 10. But some owners told my colleague Michael Gold that even the limited service was cause for excitement and hope.

Still, others were unsure whether more customers would feel safe enough to return and worried about making costly changes for little turnout. “It’s hard to know if there is going to be the demand,” said Leah Cohen, the chef at Pig and Khao on the Lower East Side.

Indoor dining looks much different now.

Customers who opted for indoor seating on Wednesday were met with a new dining experience, even before walking inside. Patrons got their temperatures checked and passed along their information in case the city’s contact tracers needed to follow up.

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