NY puts new restrictions on bars and restaurants

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 16 July 2020 at 3:16 pm

Governor wants to discourage ‘mingling’ during pandemic, fearing virus will spread

Bars and restaurants across the state only will be allowed to serve alcohol to patrons if they also order food, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced today.

The state is trying to reduce “mingling” at bars and restaurants, where Covid-19 seems to have a higher rate of spreading.

If alcohol is limited to people who also order food that would limit exposure to the people at that table, as long as the tables are socially distanced, Cuomo said.

The state is seeing people at bars and restaurants who are not socially distancing, but are mingling among a crowd.

There also will be no walk-up bar service. Bar tops must only serve seated patrons who are socially distanced by six feet.

The governor said the restrictions are being imposed due to numerous reports of noncompliance with social distancing and mask wearing at the establishments.

“There is significant evidence of failure to comply,” the governor said on a conference call with the media. “It’s wrong, it’s dangerous, it’s selfish, it’s unacceptable. It’s also illegal.”

The state also is imposing stricter restrictions on restaurants and bars in New York City. If they have three violations of the state’s Covid-19 guidelines for businesses, the state will shut them down.

The governor encouraged people who see violations to report complaints, including photos, to the State Liquor Authority at www.sla.ny.gov.

“New Yorkers are outraged at these establishments,” Cuomo said. “We’re getting thousands of complains, pictures, videos, et cetera. This is a question of public health and New Yorkers paid a dear price for Covid and they are equally upset with these violations.”

Egregious violations can result in immediate loss of liquor license or closure before a third strike. Additionally, any establishment facing disciplinary charges by the State Liquor Authority will have its name and location posted publicly and updated on a weekly basis.

“We still have an issue with compliance,” Cuomo said. “I once again call on the local officials to make sure there is compliance enforcement. We have to enforce compliance or the virus will spread.”

Cuomo also announced that a decision will be made by 4 p.m. Friday whether New York City will enter phase four of the reopening on Monday. If New York City is approved to enter phase four on Monday, the state will not allow any additional indoor activity, such as malls and cultural institutions, Cuomo said.

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