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As New York COVID-19 restrictions lift, patrons clink beer mugs with indoor bar seating resuming

CA, 04 May 2021
On Monday, New York City dwellers were allowed to have a drink sitting at an indoor bar for the first time in months, under loosened state guidelines.

At around 12 p.m. at McSorley's Old Ale House in Manhattan's East Village, a mother and son seated at the bar clinked mugs filled with beer.

"I never noticed the bar was closed," said 25-year-old Raven Nieto, a student from Miami. "Honestly, I never really noticed. We would normally just surround a big round table with beers.”

"We're actually here from Miami and this is the first place we wanted to come to. He was saying it's the oldest bar. It is kind of early, but we had to come,” said 43-year-old Sherrie Racines, Nieto's mother and a paralegal.

Bartender Shane Buggy said the bar stools were a new addition to the oldest Irish pub in New York City.

"In 167 years we've never served a person seated at the bar," he said. "We've always had everyone standing 'belly up to the bar,' as we say. It's just another change that the bar has gone through in the last 18 months. There's been more change in the last 18 months to this bar than there has been in 167 years of being open, but it's another thing we're just adapting to, and hopefully by July 1, we'll be back to normal."

The percentage of New Yorkers testing positive for the coronavirus dropped 50 per cent over the last month and hospitalizations decreased by nearly 40 per cent during the same period, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said on Monday.

Across the U.S., more than 147 million people have received at least one vaccine dose as of Monday, according to the CDC.

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