NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — New York nightlife gains an extra hour of fun starting next week.

Bars and restaurants across the state will be allowed to stay open until midnight — the latest curfew since the beginning of the pandemic.

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As CBS2’s John Dias reported, some in the hospitality industry think it could help slow the spread of the virus.

It was a busy Thursday morning at Gracie’s Corner Diner, and soon the Upper East Side eatery will be bustling late-night, as well. The manager said the upcoming ease in COVID restrictions and extra hour of business will help immensely.

CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC

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Starting Monday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo is pushing back the current 11 p.m. statewide curfew.

New York Hospitality Alliance Executive Director Andrew Rigie told CBS2 the added hour could help slow the spread by allowing nightlife fun to stay in controlled establishments.

Mayor Bill de Blasio said easing curfews and restrictions needs to be steady, and he’s worried about variants.

“I’m hopeful. Take it step by step. So I would be careful about going too far in any one jump. When we see an adjustment like this, let’s see how it goes for a bit,” he said.

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The mayor said reopening should still be based on data and science, adding by the summer New Yorkers will most likely see more progress.

John Dias