New York allows orange zone restaurants to operate under yellow zone restrictions

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(WETM) – New York is allowing all restaurants that are impacted by orange zone restrictions to reopen under yellow zone guidelines, according to a statement from Governor Andrew Cuomo’s office.

State Senator Tom O’Mara confirmed the decision on Thursday afternoon with 18 News.

The decision comes after a ruling in Erie County that allowed orange zone restaurants to open with the yellow zone guidelines. Other orange zone restrictions remain in place across the state where the Governor has designated an orange zone, including in Chemung County.

STATEMENT FROM COUNSEL TO THE GOVERNOR KUMIKI GIBSON ON STATE SUPREME COURT DECISION IN ERIE COUNTY RELATED TO INDOOR DINING

“A court decision yesterday temporarily granted a select few restaurants located within an Orange Zone in Erie County the ability to resume indoor dining under the rules governing Yellow Zones. We are reviewing the decision. While that process is ongoing, to ensure uniformity and fairness, all restaurants operating in Orange Zones can now operate under rules governing Yellow Zones. We disagree with the court’s decision and its impact on public health as Federal CDC data clearly demonstrates indoor dining increases COVID-19 spread. From the start of this pandemic, the State has acted based on facts and the advice of public health experts, and we will continue that approach.”

Prior to Thursday’s announcement, restaurants in the orange zone were limited to outdoor dining, four people maximum per table, and on-premise consumption ending at 10 p.m.

Yellow zone restrictions are as follows:

Indoor and outdoor dining permitted, 4 person maximum per table, and bars and restaurants close at 10:00 PM for on-premises consumption”

As Chemung County’s orange zone enters day 85, several restaurants have defied the orange zone restrictions and have opened up. Chemung County Executive Chris Moss said on Thursday morning prior to the state’s announcement that letters have been sent to those who broke the orange zone restrictions.

18 News directly asked Governor Cuomo on Jan. 8 why the orange zone restrictions were still in place and he was unable to answer the question. We have not heard back from the Governor’s office regarding the question or restrictions.

This is a developing story and we will have more information as it becomes available.

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