Originally restaurants were slated to start opening to diners in Phase 3, but Gov. Andrew Cuomo has relaxed one requirement to reopen. Now restaurants with outdoor seating will be allowed to open this week. Specifically, restaurants with outdoor seating can reopen June 4.

We are continuously evaluating activities that can be safely reopened, and today we are adding outdoor seating at restaurants to phase two. Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

Of course, there are a few restrictions on restaurants opening their outdoor seating. Tables must be at least 6 feet apart and staff must wear face coverings. Gloves weren't specifically mentioned, but I bet that will be part of the required PPE. Customers will also have to wear masks anytime they are not seated at a table, but not while eating. That's good because trying to enjoy your steak through an N-95 mask sucks.

Restaurants that don't offer outdoor seating will have to wait until Phase Three to reopen to dine-in customers with some of the same restrictions like lower dining room capacity, tables spaced 6 feet apart, and masks. Until Phase Three, restaurants without outdoor dining can still offer take-out, delivery, and curbside pickup meals.

Some cities are considering letting some restaurants without outdoor dining use the city street or parking lots as outdoor dining rooms. Troy, Albany, and Schenectady have all considered the idea of expanding outdoor seating to closed city streets or even parking spaces. Nothing has been decided on that yet.

Nationwide restaurants have been hard hit by the coronavirus. Many restaurants laying off servers and cooks. Hopefully, this change will allow more people to get back to work. The only way these Captial Region restaurants can survive is for people to continue supporting them by dining out and getting take-out.

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