ALBANY, N.Y. (WROC) — Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Wednesday that the COVID-19 curfew for bars and restaurants will be lifted for outdoor dining areas on May 17, and indoor establishments beginning May 31.

The curfew for bars and restaurants has been in effect across New York state since November 11, 2020. It was initially set for 10 p.m. and then was later extended to 11 p.m. in February, and midnight last month.

The governor also announced that the 1 a.m. curfew for catered events where attendees have provided proof of vaccination status or a recent negative COVID-19 test result will be lifted beginning May 17, with the curfew for all catered events set to be lifted May 31. 

Additionally, the governor announced that starting May 3, seating at bars will be allowed in New York City, consistent with the food services guidance that is in effect statewide.

“We know the COVID positivity rate is a function of our behavior, and over the last year New Yorkers have remained disciplined and continued with the practices we know work to stop the spread of the virus,” Gov. Cuomo said in a Wednesday press release. “Everything we’ve been doing is working – all the arrows are pointing in the right direction and now we’re able to increase economic activity even more. Lifting these restrictions for restaurants, bars and catering companies will allow these businesses that have been devastated by the pandemic to begin to recover as we return to a new normal in a post-pandemic world. To be clear: we will only be able to maintain this progress if everyone gets the COVID vaccine. It is the weapon that will will the war and we need everyone to take it, otherwise we risk going backward.”

“While I am happy that the curfew is being lifted, the state is only doing this because they knew they were going to lose in court and I think it’s ridiculous that we have to wait a month,” said Donald Swartz, owner of Veneto on East Avenue. “At this point, people should be able to make decisions and personal choices based on their comfort level.”

Also Wednesday, the New York State Legislature approved the repeal of Gov. Cuomo’s order that required food orders for alcohol service in New York state, effectively immediately.