- NYC mayor hints indoor dining won't reopen until a vaccine is ready
- NJ to reopen indoor dining for first time since mid-March
- Restaurant capacity will be limited to 25%
- US cases top 6 million
- Controversy over FDA Commissioner's remarks continues
- India passes Mexico's death toll
- Hong Kong set to restart in-person learning
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Update (1050ET): After announcing plans to delay layoffs of 22,000 city workers despite a looming fiscal crisis driven by the scourge of COVID-19 and fleeing taxpayers, NYC mayor Bill de Blasio implied that the city has no plans to reopen indoor dining until a vaccine is available.
.@NYCMayor hints again we may not have indoor dining in NYC until there's a vaccine in the spring— Julia Marsh (@juliakmarsh) August 31, 2020
The legions of restaurant owners who have dutifully paid taxes for years probably can't help but wonder why the mayor is bending over backwards to keep city workers on the payroll while leaving small business owners hanging out to dry.
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As we reported Sunday evening, the US surpassed 6 million confirmed coronavirus cases, adding the latest million cases in 22 days, compared with just 16 days to go from 4 million to 5 million. And as the outbreak slows, it looks like some of the most recalcitrant states, which have until very recently been reluctant to meaningfully roll back any of their pandemic-era emergency orders, are finally starting to walk the long path back to (some semblance of) normalcy.
For example, on Monday, New Jersey Gov Phil Murphy tweeted that he would allow restaurants in the state to reopen their dining rooms - albeit with just 25% capacity - as he works to "restore one of our state's key industries".
In other words: the exodus of wealth tax payers finally motivated Murphy to act.
NEW: Restaurants statewide will be able to open for indoor dining beginning this FRIDAY at 25% capacity and with social distancing between tables.— Governor Phil Murphy (@GovMurphy) August 31, 2020
Reopening responsibly will help us restore one of our state’s key industries while continuing to make progress against #COVID19. pic.twitter.com/EPdEfi5Dmh
Restaurants will be allowed to reopen their dining rooms on Friday morning for the first time since mid-March.
Unfortunately for restaurant owners, running a restaurant at just 25% capacity would be extremely difficult - if not impossible - to do profitably.
Restaurant owners in NJ were initially instructed that they could reopen their dining rooms at 25% capacity on July 2. Outdoor dining has been ongoing since June 15. But on June 29, just three days before indoor dining was set to open, Murphy announced that he would post plans indefinitely following a spike in new cases.
Murphy blamed overcrowded dining areas and irresponsible citizens who refused to wear masks as justification for the decision.
Since early July, restaurants, who spent thousands on cleaning supplies and plexiglass dividers, have been distraught over Murphy's inability to offer a clear timeline for reopening, something the governor blamed on the "unsteady rate of transmission".
Hospitality industry lobbyist Marilou Halvorsen, president and CEO of the New Jersey Restaurant & Hospitality Association, told North Jersey.com that 30% of restaurants will close because of business lost during the pandemic.
While we imagine thousands of Garden Staters will rush to revisit their old favorite restaurants (at least those that are still around), for those stuck living on rice and beans no that all the "Trump money" has dried up, at least you can enjoy this video of NJ.
Paris is now offering free coronavirus testing at locations in each of its 20 districts starting Monday as it battles against a sharp resurgence of cases that has centered mostly in France's two largest cities, Paris and Marseilles.
As the number of new cases tapers off in Hong Kong, high schools will soon be able to resume face-to-face classes in phases starting Sept. 23, according to an announcement from Secretary for Education Kevin Yeung.
Perhaps the biggest news overnight comes out of India’, which saw its death toll finally top Mexico’s to claim the third-largest death toll globally.
India is fast becoming the world's new virus epicenter as outbreaks in both the US and Brazil slow.
The grim milestone comes a day after the world’s second-most populous country reported its latest record jump in new infections, which was also the most new cases reported in a day by any country on earth.
India reported 78,512 additional cases and 971 fatalities on Monday. It now has more than 3.6 million cases, while the death toll is above 64,000, compared with Mexico's. On Sunday, Mexican health authorities reported 4,129 new confirmed novel coronavirus cases and 339 additional deaths, bringing the total number to 595,841 cases and 64,158 deaths.
Finally, as we noted last night, FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn has doubled down on his claim, made during an interview, that the FDA would approve a vaccine before Phase 3 trials were finished if it thought doing so would be "appropriate". It's just the latest media-assisted 'witch hunt' for undue political influence.