10 Liquor License Suspensions This Week Over COVID-19 Violations
Governor Andrew Cuomo's new task force to enforce COVID-19 restrictions in bars and restaurants pulled 10 liquor licenses this week around the state. Violations were handed out at some 84 establishments which carry fines of up to $10,000 per violation, according to the Governor's office. None of the charges this week were levied against businesses in Oneida, Herkimer, or Madison counties, but, over 1,100 investigations were carried out by the task force throughout the state. It's unknown if any of the investigations this week included local establishments.
Since the beginning of the restrictions in March, three Oneida County establishments have received violations:
• Stringer's Bar and Grill in Sylvan Beach on April 3
• Eddie's on the Beach in Sylvan Beach on June 26
•Oneida Lake Brew Haus in Verona on June 26
Cooley's Stone House in Cooperstown, and Cosmo's Bar and Grill in St. Johnsville also received violations.
"It’s pretty simple to cure this. Go in, sit down and stay with your party," said Greeley Ford on WIBX's Keeler Show on Friday. Ford is one of three SLA commissioners in New York State. Ford said the biggest problem is people congregating around a bar and not social distancing.
Last week, Governor Cuomo announced that people must order food with alcohol when they visit establishments in the state and that executive order started a frenzy of confusion. How much food needs to be ordered? Can you order chips and chicken wings? Do you need to order food every time you order a drink?
This week, the Liquor Authority worked to clarify the questions and Commissioner Ford explained that it's actually about being reasonable. "A reasonable amount of food must be ordered with alcohol," he said.
The SLA also clarified this week that the small bags of Cuomo Chips being sold at some bars, seemingly with the sarcasm involved, would not meet the standard. Also, at a press briefing this week, Governor Cuomo referenced that a chicken wing would not constitute "ordering food" and that would not satisfy the order. However, in the SLA breakdown this week, an order of chicken wings would constitute ordering food with a drink. Additionally, shared plates of food or appetizers were acceptable, as long as it was reasonable amount of food.
Listeners who called into the Keeler Show on Friday asked, "how do you determine what's reasonable? How is that enforceable?"
Ford reminded people to be respectful of bar and restaurant owners who are simply trying to comply and keep their businesses open. "What we don't want is for these businesses to be shut back down because the virus starts to spread because people aren't complying," said WIBX's Bill Keeler. "That would be terrible."