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Medina establishments that serve alcohol send letter to Cuomo

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 21 July 2020 at 9:33 pm

Governor shouldn’t punish entire industry based on violators, group says

MEDINA – A group of Medina business owners who serve alcohol have sent a letter to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, urging him not to follow through with a threat on Monday that would order all bars and restaurants to shut down if there continues to be flagrant violations with social distancing and not wearing masks.

The coalition of Medina business owners said the governor would be “unjustly” punishing many businesses who have worked to follow the rules, and implemented numerous precautions to protect the public from Covid-19.

The letter is signed by Scott Robinson, president of Medina Area Partnership; Michael Zambito, owner of Zambistro; Alexandra Gilman, owner of Shirt Factory; Leonel Rosario, owner of Mariachi De Oro; Bryan & Larissa DeGraw, owners of 810 Meadworks; Brian Christiaansen, owner of Mark’s Pizzeria in Medina; Wendy Wilson and John Oakes of Leonard Oakes Estate Winery; Tim Hungerford and Teresa Misiti, owners of Mile 303, Brody Hoffmeister, owner of Rudy’s Diner; and Katie Misiti and Travis Hartway of Sourced Market & Eatery.

“Our Upstate New York community has been part of a vibrant renaissance in recent years, one we hope to maintain during these challenging times,” the group writes in the letter. “However, we all know it won’t be easy.”

The group said the prospect of restaurants being forced to close would be “unimaginable.”

The governor says many bars and restaurants are putting public health at risk with large social gatherings. Last Thursday he announced a new executive order where bars and restaurants can’t serve alcohol only. Customers also need to order food.

The governor said his goal was to prevent “hobnobbing” where customers don’t stay put at a table but instead move about the crowd.

On Monday, after seeing widespread reports and posts on social media of large crowds at bars and restaurants, Cuomo said the state is close to ordering those establishments close down.

“If you choose closure, it unjustly punishes those of us who are spending everyday to make sure our patrons, staff, and community remain safe. We don’t just think about those within our designated areas, but we’re constantly thinking about those around us.

The group said the Orleans County community and state have worked hard to reduce the number of Covid-19 infections, deaths and hospitalizations.

“COVID-19 is not gone, New York is not in the clear, and we believe concerns of another wave hitting our state,” the Medina business owners write in the letter. “At this moment, we can only do our best to continue using the guidance your administration has provided and act as frontline workers to make sure others follow these safety mitigation measures.”


‘We implore you to continue using a regional approach throughout the state, rather than punishing some of us for the indiscretions of others.’


The Medina businesses have displayed “Wear a Mask” signs, posted frequently on Facebook with guidance for dining, posted Instagram images of staff wearing masks, put down floor markers outlining social distancing, and had nonstop discussions with patrons about staying seated.

The businesses have measured the distance between seats/tables/walkways, and countless other items have been added to the business operations.

“Your recent decision that mandates food accompanying alcoholic beverages was just another item we collectively added to our list,” the letter states. “The majority of us realized this step was to address a real concern that could set all of us back. If you think it’s frustrating that rules are being followed, imagine how those of us who are following them feel.”

The Medina business owners said it will take all establishments and their customers to adhere to the guidance and stop the spread of Covid-19.

“We’re not going to beat the pandemic as individuals, but by coming together as a team,” the business owners wrote to the governor. “While we’ll continue to look out for our neighboring businesses who are abiding by the rules, we need you to look out for us and allow us the opportunity to build ourselves back up.”

The group thanked the governor for his leadership and asked for his consideration during these challenging times.

“There is still a long road ahead and none of us know what the coming months will hold,” they wrote in the letter. “We implore you to continue using a regional approach throughout the state, rather than punishing some of us for the indiscretions of others.”

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