More Restrictions For New York Bars, Restaurants to Sell Alcohol
In order to purchase alcohol at a bar, Empire State residents must also order "substantive food." Gov. Cuomo added "Cuomo Chips" don't count.
Recently, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said we are in a "man-made" second wave while announcing many new regulations for all New York bars and restaurants.
Bars and restaurants across New York State can only serve alcohol to people who also order food and there will be no walk-up bar service. Officials also say all service at bar tops must only be for seated customers who are socially distanced by six feet or separated by physical barriers and also eating.
Late last week, Cuomo reminded New Yorkers outdoor drinking is not allowed in New York State.
"Let's be clear. Outdoor dining is now permitted statewide. Outside drinking is not," Cuomo tweeted. "The state will suspend liquor licenses for businesses in violation of health orders. Local governments must also enforce these rules. We need compliance to stop the spread and keep New Yorkers safe.
To get around the new rule, some New York bars started selling small items like "Cuomo Chips." While Handshakes in Dutchess County sold "Tappan Zee Onion Rings" and "Cuomo Fries" for $1. A bar in Westchester sold cheese and crackers for 50 cents.
On Thursday, Cuomo confirmed those businesses must sell meals, or as he put it substantive food, in order to allow customers to purchase alcohol.
"To be a bar, you had to have food available—soups, sandwiches, etc.," Cuomo said on Thursday during a press briefing. "More than just hors d'oeuvres, chicken wings, you had to have some substantive food. The lowest level of substantive food were sandwiches."
Cuomo saying chicken wings aren't a meal angered many Empire State residents. However, in updated guidelines, The New York State Liquor Authority cleared things up and noted chicken wings count as "substantive food."
According to the SLA along with sandwiches and meals other foods that qualify are "salads, wings, or hotdogs" however, "a bag of chips bowl of nuts, or candy" do not count.
"As a restaurant or bar owner, in determining whether a particular item is substantial enough, please keep in mind the purpose of this policy: to ensure that patrons are enjoying a sit-down dining experience among a small group with drinks, i.e. a meal, and not a drinking, bar-type experience. A drinking, bar-type experience often involves or leads to mingling and other conduct that is non-compliant with social distancing and the use of face-covering and is therefore not yet a safe activity during the current health emergency. The spikes/resurgence of COVID-19 cases that this has caused in other states is something that New York must avoid at all costs," the SLA wrote in updated guidance.
Cuomo added, "Cuomo Chips" also don't count as substantive food.
"I enjoy (Cuomo chips). They don't suffice in the existing law as a bar serving food. This is a law going back to the old days. A bar has to have food available, soups, sandwiches. Even Cuomo Chips are not enough," Cuomo said.