Update: Just after 10 a.m. on Monday, Mayor Bill de Blasio said the city and state will be reexamining the rules for indoor dining during Phase 3, given the issues we've seen in the rest of the country.

At 11:45 a.m., Governor Andrew Cuomo said during his briefing that a final decision on indoor dining would be made by this Wednesday, July 1st.


On Sunday, Governor Gavin Newsom ordered bars closed in several California counties, including Los Angeles. The decision comes just over two weeks after California reopened those establishments during Phase 3, which allowed bars and restaurants to open their indoor spaces to patrons again, albeit with limited capacity. Newsom's decision comes after California began to see an alarming spike in COVID-19 cases.

Prior to Newsom's order for bars to close, Florida and Texas closed their bars as well, following a surge in cases. In Michigan, 85 people contracted COVID-19 after visiting one bar; in Florida, 16 friends tested positive after a night out at one bar.

New York has seen a steady decline in COVID-19 cases and deaths, but now Phase 3 and the limited reopening of indoor public spaces is scheduled for next week, July 6th.

On Friday, Mayor Bill de Blasio was asked if he felt anxious seeing these spikes in other states that have reopened, and if he was worried that New Yorkers would get lax in adhering to policies that have slowed the spread in New York.

"I think a lot of the places that are having these horrible resurgences, they reopened very quickly, people really didn't necessarily understand or feel the full extent of the danger, and now, tragically, they're paying for it. We're the exact opposite," de Blasio said. "We walked through hell and back. Overall, I think New Yorkers get that they have to participate if they want to keep things moving forward."

And yet, here's what St. Marks Place looked like over the weekend (there are also photos from other areas over the past week above):

We are told that the Department of Transportation is performing "proactive inspections" after reports that social distancing and mask requirements were not being followed, and hope to educate establishments on their responsibilities if they are falling short. If restaurants are not operating safely, the city will suspend their curbside service license until they fix the problem.

The city has also promised more street space in July. In the meantime, some places with limited outdoor space have been getting creative:

Open-air protests, on the other hand, where a majority of attendees wear masks, have proven to be safe so far. Epidemiologist Stephen Morse told Gothamist, "Outdoors is clearly safer, as we saw from the outcome of the recent Black Lives Matter marches — as of now, it seems there were few if any new cases resulting from those events."

The hope is that Phase 2 outdoor dining has been safe as well, but since it only began one week ago, it's too early to tell if it's causing a spike. While establishments have been asked to keep 6 feet between tables, many have not been doing so; after months of full and partial closures, they are packing tables into their outdoor spaces. This could be problematic as patrons are largely unmasked and talking while seated, a known recipe for transmission.

Radegast Beer Hall's set-up

Gretchen Robinette / Gothamist

Radegast Beer Hall in Williamsburg is one business that is trying to keep things in order during Phase 2, which is difficult at beer halls. "What does happen sometimes is that a group will come in and ask us to move the tables closer together," manager Sean Snyder told Gothamist. "We've always been home to large groups... That being said, once the party is gone, those tables are immediately spaced out again and disinfected." Nodding to the Bourbon Street-esque scenes we've seen in the area, he added, "We can't be held responsible for passers-by and are only responsible for the people in our seats."

Are we ready for indoor drinking?

GRETCHEN ROBINETTE / GOTHAMIST

"The businesses that are opening are being really careful. I think we're good for Phase 3 as of today," de Blasio told WNYC's Brian Lehrer on Friday. "But everything is based on the data. And if things start to go the wrong way, we're going to freeze really quickly. And if we even have to take a step back, we would. It’s just about watching it every day and communicating with people."

On Sunday, we checked back in with de Blasio, and asked if New York City bars and restaurants will still be allowed to open indoor spaces on July 6th. Mitch Schwartz from the Mayor's Office told us, "we’ll have more to say on that soon."

Governor Andrew Cuomo's office did not respond to our request for comment. But on Monday, he told NY1, "Malls and indoor dining are things that I’m concerned about and we may consider slowing them down for next week. Not going backwards, but we may actually slow them down."