ALBANY — Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Friday opened the door to lifting indoor dining restrictions in New York City before Valentine’s Day — but said he is not on board with easing the statewide 10 p.m. curfew for restaurants and bars ahead of Super Bowl Sunday.
“I’ve talked to the restaurants about it. They’re eager to do indoor dining. I get the point about [opening] Friday [and] Saturday, but let’s look at the numbers over the weekend and talk about it on Monday,” Cuomo told reporters during a virtual, Albany-based briefing when asked why it was returning on a Sunday, when many can’t go out.
“I want to reopen as much as anybody wants to reopen anything on any level, but let’s look at the numbers over the weekend and then let’s have a conversation on Monday.”
The governor announced last month that limited indoor dining will return to the Big Apple by Feb. 14 — for the first time since mid-December — citing lower COVID-19 infection rates and the end of the holiday “surge” season.
New York recorded a 4.31 statewide infection rate as of Thursday, a decrease from a high of 7.94 percent recorded on Jan. 1, according to state data.
But struggling business owners argue they can reopen safely sooner and they want restrictions lifted to operate the entire weekend before Valentine’s Day — which falls on a Sunday.
Meanwhile, Cuomo threw cold water on the idea of removing the state-imposed 10 p.m. cap on indoor and outdoor dining ahead of this weekend’s Super Bowl.
The push from industry leaders to open has ramped up in recent weeks. On Thursday, the Empire State Tavern Association — representing nearly 3,000 bars and restaurants statewide — sent a letter to Cuomo advocating for the curfew lift, arguing that it would give businesses the opportunity to make up for losses sustained over the past year’s economic shutdowns.
An upstate judge also issued a temporary restraining order Friday morning allowing nearly 100 bars and restaurants in Erie and Monroe counties to stay open past the 10 p.m. limit.
But Cuomo was unmoved.
“The curfew is because when people tend to stay later and they’re just drinking, then there’s more gatherings. You can’t drink and wear a mask,” he explained of the limit, which has been in place since mid-November before the Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s holidays.
“Maybe if the [Buffalo] Bills were in the Super Bowl, it would be a different conversation,” he quipped.
When contacted by The Post, a Cuomo spokesman said they are reviewing the judge’s decision and believe the order applies solely to the plaintiffs — rather than to all businesses statewide.