New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the state will start enforcing a “three strikes and you’re closed” policy for New York City restaurants and bars that serve alcohol and fail to comply with social distancing regulations put in place to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
Cuomo said if New York City restaurants and bars fail to comply with regulations three times, they will be closed, and that egregious violations can result in immediate loss of liquor licenses.
He said the new regulations will also prevent restaurants and bars across the state from only serving liquor to patrons. Drinks must only be served if patrons are ordering food.
The reason for this, Cuomo said, was that social distancing in restaurants outdoor seating can be better enforced if patrons are sitting in smaller groups at tables that are kept apart.
“If you’re not eating a meal and you’re just drinking and then it’s just an outdoor bar and people are mingling and not isolated at tables,” Cuomo said.
Walk-up bar service would also no longer be allowed across the state.
Cuomo said the state is seeing “significant” evidence of restaurants and bars failing to comply with Covid-19 social distancing regulations. He estimated at least 5,000 establishments in downstate New York were failing to comply with the regulations. He said his office has received thousands of complaints and videos showing restaurants and bars with improper social distancing.
“This is a question of public health,” Cuomo said. “New Yorkers have paid a dear price for Covid.”