Gov. Andrew Cuomo (Getty, iStock)

Gov. Andrew Cuomo (Getty, iStock)

Next month, New York bars and restaurants can finally stay up past curfew.

The midnight curfew for restaurants that’s been in place in an effort to curb Covid-19 cases will end on May 17 for outdoor dining and May 31 for indoor dining, the New York Times reported. The changes come after months of backlash from the hospitality industry and declining cases of the virus.

The state will also allow people to sit at bars for the first time since March 2020. Restrictions previously required patrons to sit at tables.

Members of the hospitality industry responded positively to the news.

Andrew Rigie, executive director of the New York City Hospitality Alliance, told the publication that it was great news that the bar stool ban and midnight curfew were coming to an end, calling the curfew “arbitrary.”

“These outdated policies made it too difficult for too many small business owners and workers to support themselves and their families,” Rigie told the publication.

The tightest curfew restrictions came in November, when Cuomo said diners could only be served until 10 p.m. in an effort to combat a second wave of the pandemic. As cases fell, Cuomo dialed back on the restrictions to midnight, though he’s taken his time on bars and restaurants compared to other sectors.

The measures prompted a backlash from restaurateurs: Seventy restaurants sued Cuomo over his regulations, saying that the changing restrictions harmed their business and violated their civil rights.

[NYT] — Cordilia James