Restaurants and Bars Allowed to Reopen Outdoor Dining in Phase 2 Here’s What You Need to Know

Governor Cuomo announced plans for reopening outdoor dining at restaurants and bars and laid out the guidance for doing so you can begin making plans to reopen your business.

Under the Governor’s plan you can open for outdoor dining when your region enters phase 2 and you can fully reopen in phase 3, about two weeks after phase 2 begins.

When Can You Reopen Outdoor Dining?

June   4 – Central New York, Finger Lakes, Mohawk Valley, North Country, and Southern Tier

June   4 – Western New York

June   4 – Capital District

June   9 – Mid-Hudson

June 10 – Long Island

June 22 – New York City

What Are the Rules for Reopening Outdoor Dining?

The State has issued guidelines for operating restaurants and bars when you reopen outdoor dining. As you’ll see from the summary of the guidance we’ve prepared and the detailed interim guidance the state has issued, some of the guidelines are mandatory and some are recommended best practices. The State requires you affirm online that you’ve read and understand your obligation to operate under this guidance. You can access that form here. There is no process for providing the affirmation in any other format.

In addition, the State requires each reopening business to develop a written safety plan outlining how it will prevent the spread of COVID-19. They’ve provided a safety plan template you may fill out to comply with this requirement or you can develop one of your own. You do not need to submit this to any state or local government for approval, but your written plan must be on site and must be made available to state or local officials upon request.

The State has also extended permission for you to sell cocktails-to-go. The rules continue to require patrons purchase food with any alcohol-to-go, but there is no minimum food purchase – they just have to buy some food. The State can only extend this privilege for 30 days at a time under the Governor’s emergency powers, but we expect it to be extended as long as restrictions are placed on your operation.

The State Liquor Authority has provided guidance that allows you to alter your existing premises to accommodate outdoor dining while awaiting approval from the SLA. Review that guidance carefully so you don’t run afoul of it. You also must work with your local municipality to make sure you’re operating within local laws and ordinances.

When Can You Reopen Indoor Dining?

June 12 – Central New York, Finger Lakes, Mohawk Valley, North Country, and Southern Tier

June 16 – Western New York

June 17 – Capital District

June 23 – Mid-Hudson

June 24 – Long Island

July   6 – New York City

What Are the Rules for Reopening Indoor Dining?

The State has not issued the guidelines for operating indoor areas of restaurants and bars. We expect they’ll be similar to the guidelines for outdoor dining, but additional restrictions could be added. The guidelines for reopening indoor dining should be released next week prior to the beginning of phase 3 in parts of Upstate New York. We’ll notify you of those rule once released.

Other Considerations

Sales Tax – Did you make your March 20th payment? It’s now due June 22nd.

Lottery – Are all accounts up to date? Do you need to turn on any equipment? Need any supplies? Attend to this now so you can start-up lottery sales as soon as you reopen.

Beer/Wine/Liquor Bills – Are you up to date? Credit terms and COD rules have not been suspended. We’ve petitioned the SLA to grant a temporary reprieve from the COD rules but no decision has been made yet. Make sure you clear up and discrepancies before you reopen so your orders don’t get held up unnecessarily.

Additional Resources

We’ve compiled links to a number of resources we think can help you through the reopening process. We’ll update this listing as we become aware of more resources so check back often.