New guidance allows bars and restaurants to get creative with its outdoor space.

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On Wednesday, in a somewhat surprising move, Gov Andrew Cuomo Cuomo said outdoor dining and drinking are now allowed in Phase 2 instead of Phase 3. Tables must be placed at least six-feet apart and that staff as well as customers must wear face coverings when not seated.

Later on Wednesday, the New York State Liquor Authority confirmed that any business with a valid liquor license can reopen in regions that have entered Phase 2 for outdoor service.

According to the New York State Liquor Authority, this means restaurants, bars, taverns, cafes, breweries, etc. with valid licenses can resume outdoor, on-premises service of alcoholic beverages and/or food.

Live Updates: Coronavirus in the Hudson Valley

Consumption of any food and drinks beverage must occur at outdoor tables or bar tops, officials say.

Cuomo said on Sunday the Hudson Valley is "on track" to enter Phase 2 on Tuesday.

State officials will allow for the expansion of premises, under the current establishment’s license, where food and beverages may be consumed. This includes municipal-owned land like sidewalks and streets adjacent to a licensed establishment in coordination with the local municipality, officials say.

Some restaurants in regions in New York that are already in Phase 2 set up tables in parking lots and sidewalks. While in Stamford, CT officials closed down some streets to create more outdoor dining.

Once a region is in Phase II, restaurants can offer outdoor dining under the following guidance:

  • Food and/or beverage must be consumed in outdoor, open-air areas, without a fixed roof (besides a temporary or seasonal awning or cover).
  • Food and/or beverage must be consumed while seated at a table, bar, counter, or similar contrivance.
  • All tables must be 6 feet apart; any seat at bar, counter, or similar must be 6 feet apart.
  • All staff of the licensed business must wear face masks at all times.
  • All customers must wear face masks at any time they are not seated.
  • Any consumption shall be subject to all other relevant executive orders.

The State Liquor Authority offers the following guidance:

Consumption:

  • Any consumption of food and/or beverage must happen in outdoor, open-air areas, without a fixed roof (besides a temporary or seasonal awning or cover).
  • Any consumption of food and/or beverage must happen while seated at a table, bar, counter, or similar contrivance.
  • All tables must be 6 feet apart; any seat at a bar, counter, or similar contrivance must be 6 feet apart.
  • All staff of the licensed business must wear face masks at all times.
  • All customers must wear face masks at any time they are not seated.
  • Any consumption shall be subject to all other relevant executive orders, guidances promulgated by the Department of Health, and/or any other relevant agency guidance.

Expansion of Premises:

  • Section 99-d of the ABC Law, under normal conditions, governs the process for substantial alterations of a licensed premises. Pursuant to this guidance, however, a licensee may, for the duration that this guidance remains in effect, use any outdoor, open-air part of its existing premises for which it has control by deed, lease, management agreement, or other agreement of control. Provided however that if a licensee’s existing license is subject to a stipulation with a municipality or other entity limiting the use of certain parts of the premises, such licensee must submit a letter from the municipality or other entity with which it has stipulated approving such additional outdoor use of premises.
  • Any licensee that expands its premises pursuant to the immediately foregoing paragraph shall within 5 business days of doing so submit an updated diagram to the SLA at temporaryalterations@sla.ny.gov. Failure to do so shall subject a licensee to disciplinary charges for illegal extension of premises.
  • Should any municipality elect to make available to licensees any municipally owned lands (e.g. sidewalks, streets, etc.) which are beside, but not immediately adjacent to, the licensed premises for service of food and/or beverages (a “Municipal Extension”), and should such municipality want or expect the SLA to have jurisdiction over a licensee’s operations over such Municipal Extension, such municipality must submit to the SLA a plan for municipal outdoor dining areas on the following form and deliver to the SLA the written acceptance of responsibility for such Municipal Extension from each implicated licensee by also including the following form.  Service that occurs in a municipal dining area for which a municipality has not submitted a form and licensee written acceptance shall be outside the jurisdiction of the SLA. .
  • Any movement of an existing point of sale while keeping the number of currently licensed points of sale the same must be noted in the diagram submitted pursuant to this guidance, the addition of a new point of sale in excess of the number of currently licensed points of sale shall require application to the SLA for and additional bar license.

The State Liquor Authority also released more guidance on outdoor expansion and released more frequently asked questions by businesses and customers.