After numerous social distancing violations, many bars could lose the right to sell alcohol.
As part of efforts to encourage social distancing in New York City, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo recently instated a “takeout rule” for bars and restaurants regarding alcohol. Establishments are still free to sell alcoholic beverages to customers, but no drinking is to occur on the premises. All drinks must be taken home and consumed there. Unfortunately, a large quantity of bars in New York City seem to be shirking this rule, as over the weekend, bars in nearly every borough of the city were hit with violations totaling at least 105. In response to these violations, Cuomo has begun to weigh possible punishments for establishments that don’t follow the rules with assistance from the State Liquor Authority.
“They are people outside of bars gathering and drinking, which is illegal. The takeout alcohol [rule] was, you take out the alcohol, you go home, you drink it,” Cuomo said at a Monday press conference. According to the SLA, bars that do not maintain the takeout rule could be faced with the loss of their liquor license, removing their ability to sell alcohol. Multiple violations could also result in an establishment’s closure.
“It was not, ‘you take out alcohol and then you stand in front of the bar and drink it,‘” Cuomo continued. “That violates the open-container law. It also violates the bars’ rules in terms of selling to-go alcohol.”
In recent weeks, COVID-19 infection rates in 20-29 year-old New Yorkers have risen. Cuomo suspects this is due to large groups of young adults partying outside of bars and restaurants.