Several Utica and Rome area bars, restaurants, and breweries are receiving letters 'reminding' them of New York State's current rules when it comes to musicians performing at their establishments.

The full letter (below) reminds licensees ''that may have the privilege of providing entertainment'' about what has been deemed 'safe' in New York when hosting a musical act during the COVID-19 pandemic. Among the restrictions the state is pointing out to business owners is that they aren't allowed to advertise what musical act might be performing at their venue. The letter makes clear that ''incidental music performances'' are the ''the only form of permissible live entertainment.''

The state describes incidental musical performances in the letter as ''non-ticketed, unadvertised performances that accompany and are incidental to a dining experience; i.e., patrons have come to dine, and the music provided is incidental to the dining experience. Performers must be 12 foot separate from patrons.''

Verona winery and bistro Villa Verona Vineyard vented on Facebook after receiving the letter:

''If you have not heard, I would like to inform you that our NYS government has now thrown another "monkey wrench" into the path of all restaurants and bars having any hope of succeeding in the near and distant future...''

The text of letter business owners say they received reads:

To all licensees with on-premises service privileges,

We would like to take a moment to remind licensees (that may have the privilege of providing entertainment) of what has currently been deemed safe in terms of live entertainment. Currently, only incidental music performances are safe and permissible. Incidental music is non-ticketed, unadvertised performances that accompany and are incidental to a dining experience; i.e., patrons have come to dine, and the music provided is incidental to the dining experience. Performers must be 12 foot separate from patrons. This is the only form of permissible live entertainment. Any other type of event (concerts, dance, comedy, etc.) is not incidental and is therefore impermissible at this time for health and safety reasons. Performing arts guidance has not yet been issued by the Department of Health.

If you would like to provide incidental music, please also take a moment to note whether your license allows for such. An on-premises license may provide incidental music so long as the type of music is explicitly permissible on the license certificate. A manufacturing license may provide incidental music unless the license certificate explicitly prohibits it. Note as all that karaoke is not presently permitted for reasons of health and safety.

We hope that this helps to clarify your privileges and responsibilities. If you have any further questions, please consult the existing DOH and SLA Guidances.

Delivery/Take Out Guidances, FAQs https://sla.ny.gov/Restrictions-in-Response-to-COVID-19

Outdoor Dining Guidances, FAWs (sp) https://sla.ny.gov/new-york-state-liquor-authority-guidance-outdoor-expansion-licensed-premises-response-covid-19

Phase 3 & 4 Guidances, FAQs  https://sla.ny.gov/phase3-guidelines-for-on-premises-licenses

Licensing FAQs  https://sla.ny.gov/licensing-policies-during-coronavirus-response

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