Mr. Cuomo, a third-term Democrat who has frequently sparred with Mr. de Blasio, had acknowledged that he was under intense pressure from restaurateurs to reopen indoor dining spaces, noting on Wednesday that “a restaurant is not just the restaurant owner, a restaurant is the kitchen staff, the wait staff.”
“Restaurants also pose a possible risk,” he said, adding, “But there is also a great economic loss when they don’t operate.”
The combination of students in schools and patrons in dining rooms will likely heighten anxiety about the possibility of a second wave of coronavirus infections for public health officials and experts, who said that reopening both in such quick succession comes with a substantial risk.
“I would like to understand the extent to which school reopening is contributing to a bump, or a spike, or lack thereof before moving on to another significant contributor to new cases,” said Denis Nash, an epidemiology professor at the CUNY School of Public Health, who has in the past worked for the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.
He added, “If it’s all going on at the same time, it makes it difficult to tease apart and know what’s driving any bumps we may see,” he said, referring to possible upticks in cases.
Mr. Cuomo said that state would evaluate infection rates and other data after the Sept. 30 reopening, with an eye toward increasing capacity to 50 percent by Nov. 1, perhaps sooner. At the same time, he also warned that any spike in infections could lead to sudden closures via an “emergency pause button.”
Even as other parts of the state reopened their dining rooms in late spring, the city’s indoor tables remained closed. For weeks, many restaurant owners had complained about a split reality at the city border — on one side indoor dining, on the other, a ban. Some sued, questioning why there was a continuing bar on indoor dining in the city even as virus levels in both the suburbs and the city were virtually the same.