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If nothing about New York State’s reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic made sense to you, this won’t either. Despite the fact that New York and neighboring state New Jersey continue to lead the nation in the rate of new coronavirus cases per capita, the two states’ governors have jointly decreed that beginning Friday, restaurants can increase the amount of indoor seating to 50% of capacity.

“In partnership with the State of New Jersey,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said on Wednesday, “we are expanding our indoor dining openings in New York City to 50 percent. We will continue to follow the science and react accordingly. If we keep the infections down and vaccinations up, we will continue to stay ahead in the footrace against this invisible enemy and reach the light at the end of the tunnel together.”

The change will be welcomed by area restaurateurs who have watched their businesses shrivel in the period since the virus was first diagnosed.