Andrew Cuomo, Governor of New York State, speaks at a press conference in New York City on September 8, 2020.
Spencer Platt | Getty Images
New York governor Andrew Cuomo said Monday the state could shut down food in New York City and reduce capacity elsewhere across the state if current hospitalization trends continue.
The state currently allows New York restaurants to operate indoor dining at 25% capacity. Elsewhere in New York State, restaurants with 50% capacity may dine indoors.
If the hospitalization rate in New York does not stabilize after five days, the state could shut down food in New York City as early as Monday, Cuomo said. And if hospital stays elsewhere continued to increase, indoor eating would be reduced to 25%, Cuomo said. He added that it is not inevitable that hospital stays will continue to increase, but he believes it will.
"We're going to restrict eating indoors. Five days if the hospitalization rate in New York City doesn't stabilize, we'll be closing eating indoors," he said at a press conference. "Do I think we'll see a rate of stabilization in New York City in five days by now? I would be pleasantly surprised. I don't think it's likely, but it is possible."
Cuomo cited updated guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released last week, calling for extra caution when eating indoors as a source of spread. Cuomo urged people to adjust their behavior in order to control the outbreak.
He reiterated that more restrictions will be needed when hospitals reach a critical point. According to Cuomo, if a region is expected to reach 90% capacity levels in three weeks, based on the average hospital stay rate of seven days, the state will conduct a "shutdown" of the region.
All new restrictions are designed to protect hospitals from congestion, Cuomo said. Last month, Cuomo said the state had put in place an emergency hospital protocol in preparation for an expected surge through January. On Monday, Cuomo added that he was ordering hospitals to increase bed capacity by at least 25% and urging retired nurses and doctors to "get back into service."
"Let's look at the big picture. We look at hospital capacity. If we don't control the rate, you're going to overwhelm your hospitals. We have to shut down again," he said.
"You cannot overwhelm the hospital system. If you overwhelm the hospital system, people die on a stretcher in a hallway. And the life that you could have saved you cannot save because you don't have the staff that you don't have. " If you don't have a doctor, you don't have a nurse and people die needlessly. "