Indoor dining at New York City restaurants can start back up on Feb. 14 — Valentine's Day — at 25% capacity as long as coronavirus positivity rates in the city do not rise, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Friday.
The latest ban on indoor dining in the city of 8.4 million people came in December when cases surged after Thanksgiving and end-of-the-year holiday gatherings promised to bring more virus spread.
Restaurants in most of the rest of New York state remained open, enraging owners in the city, where indoor dining had only just resumed in September after the shutdown in March.
Owners also complained that start-ups and shutdowns were announced with little time for them to prepare.
"The restaurants want a period of time so they can notify workers, they can get up to speed for indoor dining, order supplies, etc.," Cuomo said at a press conference Friday.
Restaurants in the five boroughs have been limited to sidewalk and street seating, trying to adapt with yurts, heaters and blankets — anything to keep the customers coming as the mercury continued to fall.
Cuomo said Feb. 14 might be an excellent time to propose, as he also announced wedding receptions of up to 50% capacity, or 150 people, could resume March 15, as long as all guests are tested. “No pressure,” Cuomo quipped. “But, it’s just an idea.”
But the lift on restrictions is contingent on case rates staying low.
According to New York City data, total cases in New York City are down 4.2 percent over the last seven days compared with the weekly average for the month prior, while hospitalization numbers are down 5.4 percent. Death rates remained mostly the same.
This story first appeared on NBCNews.com.