Late yesterday, New York State issued new guidance connected to the shutdown of indoor dining, a version of which was then shared by the City of New York.
The guidance prohibited outdoor dining customers from using a restaurant's restroom. The NYC Hospitality Alliance sprang into action and the state has now updated their guidance. Customers now may enter a restaurant to use the restroom - what a relief!
The guidance was also updated to allow patrons wearing face coverings to transit through the interior of the premises to access the licensed outdoor area. You may read more details in this FAQ.
At the time of publishing this alert, the guidance has not however been updated to address other important issues we're seeking changes to, which we hope they will. For example, it seems to indicate that vendors can no longer enter a restaurant to make deliveries. Third-party delivery workers can't use a restaurant's restroom or enter the premise to pick up an order, and employees effectively can't eat indoors at many places. Also, for the first time since the pandemic started, and only in NYC, customers cannot enter a restaurant to place or pick up an order to go. In the middle of the winter no less!
Clearly, this new guidance poses even more challenges for restaurants, customers and vendors and doesn't make sense since people can still enter grocery stores and other businesses to place orders, pick them up, and shop...while wearing masks and meeting other safety protocols.
Our goal is to work the State to address our industry's concerns with this guidance. We will share additional guidance and information when it becomes available.