Governor Cuomo spent a significant part of his daily press briefing on Sunday expressing deep concerns about the potential spread of COVID-19 as reports of non-compliance with the rules for social distancing and face coverings were widespread throughout the state. According to the Governor, the State has received 25,000 complaints about businesses not following the rules in just the past few days.
Bars and restaurants not following the rules are the most common complaints – with Manhattan and the Hamptons receiving the highest volume of complaints. The Governor explained that there is an enforcement task force that will focus on this and made clear violators would be subject to revocation of their liquor licenses. Those operators caught violating the rules so far have had their licenses suspended indefinitely while they await a final determination about their license status.
In addition to actions against individual licensees, the Governor made clear he may have to slow down or roll back the reopening process if the rules for reopening are not followed. Governor Cuomo also said those restrictions could be targeted to the areas of non-compliance. This would be a terrible kick in the gut to an industry already suffering from an economic disaster, one from which many would never recover.
Remember, the rules require you to enforce the requirements for social distancing and face coverings. Not following those rules is a violation of the public health law and the SLA is prosecuting this aggressively. Local officials’ pronouncements cannot protect you from the Liquor Authority’s enforcement so be forewarned.