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NY gov. orders bars can only serve alcohol to those who order food to prevent spread of virus

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Posted at 7:10 PM, Jul 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-16 19:13:05-04

NEW YORK — New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced new guidance for bars and restaurants statewide Thursday.

The governor says bars and restaurants in the state are now only allowed to serve alcohol to those who order food. He also announced that all service at bar tops must only be for those seated six feet apart or separated by physical barriers.

Cuomo cited a lack of compliance on social distancing and the wearing of face coverings in bars and restaurants across the state.

"As we continue our science-based phased reopening, the number of hospitalizations and our rate of positive tests remain steady and low," Cuomo said. "But we need to remember our success fighting this virus is a function of our own actions. Mask wearing, social distancing and hand washing — 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."

Cuomo's order was met with hesitancy by some local politicians. Erie County Legislature Minority Joe Lorigo said he planned to challenge the order in court.

"The Governor's announcement that bars and restaurants are no longer able to serve customers unless they order food with drinks is another egregious overreach of power. It is also yet another blow to bars, restaurants, and their employees that have taken multiple financial hits due to COVID-19," Lorigo said. "We cannot allow the Governor to continue haphazardly creating rules and regulations that only serve to hurt small businesses."

This story was originally published by Anthony Reyes on WKBW in Buffalo.