ALBANY, N.Y. (WIVB)–Bars were technically never supposed to reopen, that’s according to Governor Cuomo.
He says the state never authorized bars to do so during a coronavirus update via conference call this morning.
Cuomo pointed out there have been recent mask violations and crowding at bars and restaurants across the state.
He says people can congregate at bars, and that’s what the state is trying to prevent.
In New York State, there isn’t a separate bar and restaurant license as other states have.
Cuomo says many bars are still shut down in other states.
He says he didn’t authorize outdoor drinking, but outdoor dining.
The governor says he understands bars took that opportunity to open after being shut down for several months, but if places don’t comply with the rules, everyone will suffer the consequences.
“I’ve spoken to many bar and restaurant owners who are doing the right thing, playing by the rules and it’s unfortunate the good get penalized for the actions of the bad,” Cuomo added.
He says local governments must enforce the rules.
The State Liquor Authority has suspended the licenses of several places. None are in Western New York.
Recently, a number of local establishments made some creative changes to their menus in order to satisfy the requirement that patrons must order food with their drink.
These included the addition of items like “a piece of meat” and “9 french fries” on Lafayette Brewing Company’s menu.
But, guidance from the state says smaller items like these do not meet the rules.
New York State says the bar or restaurant must serve sandwiches, soups or “other foods,” but this doesn’t just mean a bag of chips or some candy.
The state says “other foods” are defined as “foods which are similar in quality and substance to sandwiches and soups; for example, salads, wings, or hot dogs.”
Shannon Smith is an anchor and reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2017. See more of her work here.