NH coronavirus restaurant restriction lifted, allowing them to operate at full capacity

NYC restaurant owners outraged after learning Mayor Bill de Blasio has no plan to reopen indoor dining

Reaction from Andrew Rigie, executive director of the New York City Hospitality Alliance.

A coronavirus restriction has been lifted that kept restaurants in four southern New Hampshire counties from operating indoors at full capacity.

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Indoor dining at restaurants in Rockingham, Hillsborough, Merrimack and Strafford counties had been limited to 50% capacity because they were the counties with 90% of the state’s COVID-19 cases, according to reports.

Gov. Chris Sununu announced the change Friday.

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“We’re coming into the fall months, and outdoor seating is not going to be as possible as it was over the summer,” Sununu said. “So effective immediately, we’ll have 100% capacity in restaurants that choose to do so.”

Tables still have to be spaced 6 feet apart. Masks are required to enter, exit and move around a restaurant

Red Arrow Diner in Manchester, New Hampshire on February 8, 2020.  (Getty Images)

Sununu’s announcement came a day after restaurant owners from southern counties appealed to the Governor's Economic Reopening Task Force to allow for more capacity, according to reports.

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John Dunn II, director of operations for the Michael Timothy Dining Group, said none of his company’s 350 employees has contracted COVID-19, according to the Manchester Union Leader.

“Our systems are working, but as we get into cooler weather, we are losing half of our seating to our restaurants,” Dunn said, according to the paper. “The regulations on our industry will be devastating as the weather gets cool.”

The paper quoted task force member Mike Sommers, president of the New Hampshire Lodging and Restaurant Association, as saying, “We are six to seven weeks from when outdoor dining is no longer a legitimate effort for these businesses.”

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New Hampshire health officials said Sunday there were 15 new positive coronavirus cases, bringing the state’s total to 7,107. There have been 429 deaths.

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