State Crackdown on Bars & Restaurants Moves Upstate

In response to recent outbreaks linked to colleges and universities across the country, Governor Cuomo directed the State Liquor Authority to increase efforts to ensure bars and restaurants in areas where college students gather are abiding by all public health measures. The Governor called out recent violations in Cortland, Dutchess, Madison, Monroe, Oswego, and Schenectady Counties as examples of problem violators requiring increased enforcement activity.

The Liquor Authority has been enforcing compliance with the public health restrictions throughout the state, although the effort has been focused downstate until now. The SLA – State Police Task Force is visiting more than 1,000 licensed premises every night in New York City and on Long Island with compliance rates typically around 99 percent. Given the emphasis on enforcement, it’s amazing that only about 200 licensees have had their licenses suspended.

For those who haven’t experienced an inspection, the emphasis is on physical distancing, masks (for your employees and your customers), not requiring food to be purchased with initial drinks, and people engaging in prohibited activities. The State Liquor Authority appears to be giving out warnings in some, but not all cases (outside of metro-NY). This is a good time to remind your employees of the rules and the importance of maintaining compliance with the restrictions, you know…just in case.