Cuomo Suggests Indoor Dining Could Soon Return

Posted: Jan 29, 2021

Even as New York City’s economically battered restaurant industry anxiously awaits news on the return of indoor dining, Restaurant Week is back, bringing with it a small sense of pre-pandemic normalcy, albeit with new safety precautions in place.

Now in its 29th year, Restaurant Week has become a staple in the city’s food world, with eateries across the city offering up special prix fixe menus, usually at prices lower than the rest of their high-end offerings. This year, all lunch and dinner menus for restaurant week will run at lower prices than usual, at $20.21 apiece, and will be available as takeout and delivery options instead of the usual dine-in experience.

“Given the unpredictability of what was going to happen with restaurants this time of year, it became evident to us that we had to adapt to the current times,” said Chris Heywood, executive vice president of global communications for NYC & Company, the New York City tourism organization that puts on the event each year. “We made the decision to change this to a takeout and delivery program primarily. And the price point is less expensive than some of our other prix fixe offerings for restaurant week.”

After having been on hiatus since the first lockdowns in March, indoor dining returned in New York City at 25% capacity at the end of September, but was shut down again in early December amid rising COVID-19 cases.

This year’s Restaurant Week unexpectedly coincided with Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s statement on Wednesday that a plan for reopening indoor dining in New York City, likely at 25% capacity, may be announced by the end of this week. (Following a court ruling, Cuomo loosened indoor dining rules for most of the state earlier in January but kept restrictions in place in New York City, which is under separate regulations, leading to mounting frustration in the industry.)

By Virginia K. Smith
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