The Big Apple could shut down indoor dining next week if the coronavirus infection rate does not slow down, officials privately acknowledge.
Under state rules, if New York City’s seven-day state testing average exceeds 3 percent for more than 10 days, it would hit Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s thresholds for imposing orange zone restrictions — which include shutting down indoor dining and a four-person limit on tables for outdoor dining.
That average ticked up to 2.5 percent on Wednesday as the five boroughs battle an ongoing surge of new COVID-19 cases — and officials fear that if nothing changes, Gotham will cross the 3 percent mark sometime next week.
That would start the 10-day clock on orange zone restrictions.
The state’s seven-day average for New York City has been on an uninterrupted upward trend for the last month: rising from 1.1 percent on October 18, hitting 1.5 percent on November 1 and then crossing the 2 percent threshold on November 10, data obtained by The Post shows.
Mayor Bill de Blasio made the looming restrictions sound as if they were fait accompli Thursday during an interview on 1010-WINS where he was pressed on the possibility of Cuomo invoking the orange zone rules locally.
“The governor’s made very clear — the state has the ultimate decision there — but he made very clear yesterday those closures are coming, too, and they’re coming soon,” Hizzoner told the radio station. “Given what these numbers are telling us, given how intense this upsurge is, you’re going to see those additional restrictions very quickly.”
Pressed by host Brigitte Quinn if that meant indoor dining could shut within days, de Blasio responded that it could.
“I don’t know if it’s a few days or a week or two, but it’s coming and the governor made that very clear yesterday,” he said. “I think that it’s quite clear that, within the next week or two, those restrictions are gonna be applied in New York City.”
In addition to shutting indoor dining, the orange zone restrictions also close gyms, fitness centers and salons.
Under the rules, schools too must be shut unless districts can meet tough coronavirus testing requirements.
“We announced the orange zone law over a month ago,” Cuomo said during a contentious briefing with reporters on Wednesday. “It always said: if by the state’s numbers you hit 3%, the schools close. What’s going on here is nothing that the law hasn’t said for over a month.”
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