Coronavirus worries cause NYC to delay indoor dining resumption

'The news we have gotten from around the country gets worse and worse all the time'

NEW YORK — New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said Wednesday that he was delaying the planned resumption of indoor dining at restaurants in the city out of fear it would cause a spike in coronavirus infections.

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The mayor, a Democrat, said he was concerned that if the city welcomed diners back into the enclosed spaces of its restaurants, it might experience the same surge in illness now being seen in other states.

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“Honestly, even a week ago, honestly, I was hopeful we could. But the news we have gotten from around the country gets worse and worse all the time.”

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio dines with his wife Chirlane McCray in an outdoor booth at a restaurant on the first day of the Phase 2 reopening of the city during the coronavirus pandemic Monday, June 22, 2020, in New York. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

Outdoor dining at restaurants, which started about two weeks ago, can continue, de Blasio said.

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New York City is in the second phase of its reopening plan and is expected to get approval to go to a third phase on July 6.

Under the current rules, large gatherings of people are still banned, but retail stores have been allowed to welcome customers back inside and offices have reopened to workers with some social distancing rules in place.