ALBANY, N.Y. (UPDATED) – New Yorkers can no longer grab a drink at bar or restaurant – without ordering food too.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo made the announcement on a conference call Thursday.
Cuomo says in an effort to get people to comply with social distancing, bars cannot serve alcohol to customers, unless they also order food. Also, people will no longer be able to walk up to the bar and order a drink; they must order and drink their beverages at a table, while sitting six feet apart.
"If you're not eating a meal and you're just drinking, then it's just an outdoor bar and people are mingling and they're not isolated at individual tables, and that's what we're seeing," said Cuomo. "Also, no walk-up bar service - all service at bar tops must be only for seated patrons who are socially distanced by six feet."
The new rules also say that all service at bar tops must only be for seated patrons who are socially distanced by six feet, or separated by physical barriers.
According to Cuomo, these new restrictions aim to encourage people to comply with social distancing and other state safety requirements. He says the state has received thousands of complaints about non-compliance with state reopening guidelines.
Many of the complaints have come from New York City, so Cuomo says starting Thursday, any downstate establishments that violate state restrictions three times, will be shut down immediately. Violations of state mandates can also result in loss of liquor licenses.
Under current law, only establishments that serve food are permitted to serve alcoholic beverages. Complaints or violations can be reported to the State Liquor Authority at www.sla.ny.gov.