NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — There’s new hope for struggling New York City restaurants after Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he will soon release a plan to resume limited indoor dining.

The moves comes amid concerns about vaccine distribution and the spread of a new COVID variant. Cuomo said indoor dining could resume at 25% capacity as early as Friday.

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“I fully understand how difficult that is that they are closed. Not just for the restaurants, but all the people who are employed there,” he said Wednesday.

With cases spiking, the governor suspended indoor dining on Dec. 14. Many New Yorkers have been dining outside since, and they’re eager for the change.

“I think it’s a wonderful idea, because we are a little cold out here,” said Kathy Dwyer.


The owner of Mario’s Restaurant in the Bronx said she would have preferred to match the suburbs at 50%, but she’ll take what she can get.

“We have Valentine’s Day coming. We want to open, share some love,” Reginia Migliucci-Delfino said. “It’s a gift to the restaurants, to lovers, to everyone.”

This comes as at least one New York City vaccination site is changing its policies after people from the suburbs, unable to get vaccines in their own towns, have been making trips to the Washington Heights Armory center, filling up spots at a location set up to combat inequalities in distribution.

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Effective immediately, 100% of new appointments there will be for city residents. Sixty percent will be reserved for eligible residents of Washington Heights, Inwood, northern and central Harlem and South Bronx communities.

All existing appointments will still be honored.

“The whole system is just totally chaotic. They might as well have done a lottery,” said Washington Heights resident Carolyn Hearn.


State leaders also continue to warn about the spread of the U.K. strain. Additional cases have been found in New York State, bringing the total to 42.

New Jersey health officials reported six new cases of the variant, bringing its total to eight, including one deadly case.

“Ages of those affected range from 10 years of age to 65. One individual had international travel history,” New Jersey Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli said. “There has been one death of an individual with this variant. That individual did have underlying health conditions.”

Back in NewYork, the governor lifted most orange and yellow micro clusters, except for a few yellow zones in New York City and Orange County.

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John Dias