A restaurant employee moves between tables outside of a restaurant in Manhattan on December 11, 2020 in New York City. [Photo/Agencies]

NEW YORK – New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, citing an improvement in the state’s coronavirus metrics, on Friday allowed New York City’s restaurants to resume limited indoor dining, reflecting a restriction-easing trend taking hold in the country.

The thousands of New York City restaurants that have been surviving on takeout business and makeshift outdoor pavilions since mid-December may reopen their indoor dining areas at 25% of capacity on Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14, Cuomo said.

Despite the resumption of indoor dining, which comes on what is traditionally one of the industry’s busiest days, Cuomo sounded a note of caution, saying that he is ready to reverse the move if the trajectory of COVID-19 indicators worsens.

“There are possible scenarios that could develop that are problematic,” he said at a briefing.

The state’s hospitalization rate and percentage of residents testing positive for the virus have both abated since earlier this month when the post-holiday surge of infections hit its peak, he said.

Earlier this week, California eased its strict stay-at-home orders, allowing restaurants to reopen for outdoor dining and greater social mixing, as public health authorities there also reported slower rates of infections and hospitalizations.

Reuters