New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has introduced a set of new regulations for bars and restaurants in a bid to tackle the Covid-19 pandemic as the state enters phase four of reopening.
The new measures are intended to ensure compliance of bars and restaurants with the social-distancing and face-covering orders issued by the state.
As part of the move, the government has instigated ‘Three Strikes and You’re Closed’ initiative, under which any establishments that receive three violations will be closed for business.
In addition, extreme violations by establishments can result in an immediate loss of liquor license or closure before a third strike.
As part of the new regulations, all restaurants and bars in New York are restricted to serving alcohol only to people who are ordering and eating food. Bar tops services will be only for seated patrons who are socially distanced by six feet or separated by physical barriers.
The current law permits only establishments that serve food to serve alcoholic beverages. Violations on these grounds can be reported to the State Liquor Authority by citizens.
Cuomo said: “As we continue our science-based phased reopening, the number of hospitalisations and our rate of positive tests remain steady and low. But we need to remember our success fighting this virus is a function of our own actions.
“Mask wearing, social distancing and handwashing – basic as they may seem – are critical to controlling the spread of this virus.
“Especially now, that we are seeing spikes in cases throughout the country, this is not the time to let up – especially on compliance enforcement. We know the prescription and we know it works – we just need to be smart and do it.”
New York City will not allow any additional indoor activity such as malls and cultural institutions.