The state legislature is moving to repeal a requirement that forces bar and restaurant customers to order food with their drink orders.
The rule was imposed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo at the height of the pandemic last year, and quickly got attacked by critics as arbitrary and not based in science. Some restaurants and bars began asking customers to buy bags of chips with their drinks, which came to be known as “Cuomo chips.”
“As more New Yorkers continue to get vaccinated, and our infection rates continue to decline, it is time to begin removing certain restrictions and regulations that are no longer necessary,” Democratic State Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said in a statement.
Last month, the Senate and the Assembly voted to repeal the emergency powers granted to Cuomo last year to fight the pandemic.
While the new law limited the governor’s ability to issue new directives within an emergency order, it did not rescind any of his previous mandates. This latest action is seen as a rebuke to the governor, who has been dogged by several scandals, including multiple claims of sexual harassment against him from current and former employees.
Restaurant and tavern owners will likely be rejoicing that the legislature is finally taking action.
“This is good news because it’s way past time this senseless food rule is repealed, but the rule prohibiting customers from sitting at a bar in New York City must be repealed too,” Andrew Rigie of the New York City Hospitality Alliance said.
The issue even came up in the race for mayor with candidate Andrew Yang holding an event outside a restaurant, calling for the rule to be rolled back.
Separately, the legislature is also expected to roll back the volunteer rule, which allows those working for Cuomo on a volunteer basis to avoid disclosure and transparency rules.
This comes largely in response to Larry Schwartz, the former Secretary to Gov. Cuomo, who claims to be working as a volunteer during the COVID crisis, but has appeared to be performing official government duties, which have rubbed some local officials the wrong way.
The legislature is expected to vote on the various repeals as soon as Wednesday.