After a state Supreme Court ruling gave way for some Western New York restaurants in orange zones to reopen indoor dining, the state has moved to allow all restaurants in orange zones to open under yellow zone restrictions.
The decision comes after several lawsuits filed by restaurant owners, primarily based in Erie County. The decision is being reviewed by the state counsel, who in a statement suggested that they do not agree with the court decision as "its impact on public health as Federal CDC data clearly demonstrates indoor dining increases COVID-19 spread."
The move allows restaurants in upstate orange zones — including in Onondaga, Monroe, Erie, Niagara, and Chemung counties — to serve indoors with a maximum table limit of four people. The restaurants still must close by 10 p.m., according to the state's restrictions. Indoor dining is still banned in New York City.
Dozens of restaurants in and around upstate's biggest cities — Buffalo, Rochester, and Syracuse — that fell into an orange zone have been closed to indoor dining since early November, coming at a time when outdoor dining became less attractive for patrons as temperatures dipped.