NEW YORK - In his conference call Thursday, Governor Cuomo announced new restrictions on bars and restaurants to enforce compliance with social distancing protocols.
Starting today, establishments are now only permitted to serve alcohol to people who are ordering food, Cuomo said.
He said there has been “significant evidence of establishments failing to comply.”
The new rule drew immediate condemnation on social media with critics saying many bars do not serve food and were relying on outdoor drink service to stay afloat.
The Cuomo administration countered that under New York State and Alcohol and Beverage Control law there is no such thing as just a bar and that all are licensed as restaurants to serve both food and drinks.
He also announced a "Three Strikes and You're Closed" initiative that could shut down bars and restaurants with three or more violations for failing to enforce social distancing.
The new restrictions apply to bars and restaurants statewide.
Cuomo says the decision to step up enforcement comes after looking at more than 5,000 restaurants where compliance was said to be lax.
The decision to begin phase four in NYC will be determined tomorrow at 4 p.m. so businesses will have notice prior to Monday, Cuomo said. "We will not know until we get the final data” to have it analyzed, but he said that the city is “on track.”
He also said phase four will not include any additional indoor activities such as indoor dining, museums, or entertainment like concerts or live shows, despite originally being included as part of the phase four reopening plan.
Cuomo described the second wave of the virus as a “manmade wave” that was preventable, pointing to a number of states that are now seeing spikes in coronavirus cases.
“We had seven months to get ready. And many places in this country are just as unprepared as they were seven months ago,” he said.
Fourteen people died yesterday and 813 people remain hospitalized statewide.