July 17, 2020 By Allie Griffin
New York bars and restaurants can no longer serve customers alcohol if they don’t purchase food, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Thursday.
The new rule was one of multiple Cuomo introduced yesterday that aim to crack down on bars and restaurants where social distancing violations have been common.
Another new rule is that walk-up bar service is not longer permitted. Establishments must have seats at every table or bartop to prevent patrons from standing around and lingering with less than six feet between them, he said.
The governor said that when outdoor dining reopened in New York City on June 22, it was meant to be for sit-down dining only. Open air bars was not part of that plan.
“If you’re not eating a meal and you’re just drinking, then it’s just an outdoor bar and people are mingling and they’re not isolated,” Cuomo said. “And that’s what we’re seeing.”
Outdoor dining at a seated table limits people’s exposure to just those within their party, he added.
Cuomo also announced a ‘Three Strikes and You’re Closed’ initiative in which any establishment that receives three violations will be closed down. The initiative is specific only to New York City, where Cuomo said compliance to coronavirus prevention rules has been low.
“The State itself has looked at over 5,000 establishments in downstate New York and found many cases of a failure to comply,” he said. “It’s wrong. It’s dangerous. It’s selfish. It’s unacceptable.”
The State Liquor Authority (SLA), as well as local governments, will enforce the requirements, which go into effect Friday. The SLA will also post establishments in violation online for the public to see.