New Outdoor Dining Guidelines

Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Liquor Authority issued new rules on outdoor dining in order to halt the spread of COVID-19. These more strict rules are in response to what is perceived to be non-compliance with social distancing and complaints about outdoor space turning into bars and street parties. The Governor ordered a “three strikes you’re out” initiative whereby any restaurant or bar that holds an on premises liquor license will have that license summarily suspended upon the occurrence of a third violation of the outdoor dining rules. Egregious conduct may result in a suspension before the third violation. The State Liquor Authority also modified its earlier rules which only required the food be available for sale for take-out, delivery, or outside dining. The new Guidance posted on the SLA website today requires that food be sold with an initial drink order by every patron. This is required for take-out as well. The minimum food requirement is salads, sandwiches and soups. A shareable food item is permitted if it is sufficient to serve the number of people in the party. Licensees are also required to ensure that no patron opens any closed container of alcohol, beer or wine within 100 feet of their premises. These new rules are all posted on the SLA website.