Southern Tier eateries will be able to welcome back almost all of their customers for indoor dining, so long as New York’s coronavirus infection rates continue to fall.

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March 7, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced he would amend executive orders limiting capacities at restaurants outside of New York City to allow 75-percent occupancy Starting March 19.

In a Sunday news briefing, the Democrat said the move to allow three-quarters capacity will take place on the same day that neighboring Connecticut goes to 100-percent for its restaurants. Massachusetts went to 100-percent restaurant capacity on March 1

Cuomo said in the conference call that 75-percent "is what the consumer is ready for.”  Cuomo calls the move good news not just for owners but for a lot of staff and suppliers.

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He says “all the same safety capacities remain in effect” but did not offer any guidelines on how restaurants would be able to increase the number of people being served while keeping tables spaced 6-feet apart.  Mask mandates also will remain in place.

The occupancy limit for restaurants in New York City remains at 35-percent.

Under the changes to the Executive Emergency powers passed by the Legislature, the lawmakers have five days to review the change and legislators and local governments have the chance to discuss concerns.  The Legislature has the ability to cancel the change with a 50 percent vote in both houses.

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