Expanded indoor dining and a loosening of the restrictions on restaurants and bars does not appear to be in the cards anytime soon. The State Department of Health remains very concerned about the potential spread of Covid-19. A recent report from the CDC that found 40% of people who tested positive for Covid-19 had eaten at a restaurant and several isolated outbreaks connected to restaurants in New York has made DOH hesitant to expand restaurant and bar activities any further.
We’re hopeful that the outbreak will remain under control as the State deals with the reopening of colleges & universities and Pre-K – 12 schools, providing relief to state officials currently reluctant to relax the restrictions. The state’s infection rate and transmission rate have been trending very close to outbreak status since the middle of the summer as more activities have been permitted and as compliance by the public has lessened from the peak of the crisis earlier in the year.
Whatever the challenge, we’re in contact with the State at least once a week to make sure they’re aware of the current situation from your perspective and to explore all of the reopening issues – large and small – that make a difference to your operation. We had a lot of dialogue and discussion leading to the reopening of outdoor and indoor dining, but while the conversation remains serious, sympathetic, and productive, we’ve made little progress further lessening the restrictions on your operation in recent days.
As we continue to fight to relax the restrictions on your business, we’re also working to preserve your opportunities to sustain your business through to the other side of this crisis. Our top legislative priorities to address Covid-19’s impact on your business are the continuation of your right to sell cocktails-to-go, commercial rent/mortgage/property tax relief, extension of your liquor license for the length of the restrictions, liability protection, and to require business interruption insurance to cover Covid-19 claims. We’re also pursuing our legislative initiatives to address wholesaler issues – group/co-op buying, allowing purchases from liquor stores, and prohibiting split case & delivery fees.