Bar snacks aren’t enough to get around new SLA guidelines
Snacks like chips, popcorn, and nuts don’t meet the new food requirements that Gov. Andrew Cuomo set for bars and restaurants last week, according to updated language from the State Liquor Authority, that was published Tuesday night. The state-run agency now says that bars are responsible for ensuring “that patrons are enjoying a sit-down experience” with enough food to be shared by a small group. The New York Post first reported on the updated guidelines.
Not unlike Gov. Cuomo’s regulations around takeout cocktails, the SLA specifies that bars must now serve food that is “similar in quality and substance to sandwiches and soups.” Salads, wings, hotdogs, and other foods all meet the criteria of the new guidelines, whether they’re fresh, processed, precooked, or frozen. Notably, the guidelines add that enough food must be purchased to “sufficiently serve the number of people in the party.” Food does not need to be purchased with every round of drinks, the SLA says, but enough food must be ordered with the first round. The goal, the guidelines say, is that customers have “a sit-down dining experience among a small group with drinks... a meal, and not a drinking, bar-type experience.”
Gov. Cuomo announced the first part of this new set of rules last week, as part of his ongoing effort to make NYC bars and restaurants enforce compliance with social distancing and takeout booze regulations. The new guidelines — which also instated a controversial “three strikes” system — came on the heels of hundreds of complaints in recent weeks made to the city about social-distancing violators.
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