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Cuomo: Restaurants, bars & gyms must close at 10 p.m.; private gatherings limited to 10 people

Wed, Nov 11th 2020 07:20 pm

Delivery and curbside pick-up without alcohol may continue after 10 p.m.

Indoor & outdoor gatherings at private residences will be limited to 10 people

Gyms also required to close daily at 10 p.m. statewide

New rules effective Friday

Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday announced new COVID-19 restrictions on bars, restaurants, gyms and residential gatherings in New York state.

Effective Friday at 10 p.m., bars, restaurants and gyms or fitness centers, as well as any State Liquor Authority-licensed establishment, will be required to close from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. daily. Restaurants will still be allowed to provide curbside, food-only pick-up or delivery after 10 p.m., but will not be permitted to serve alcohol to go. The State Liquor Authority will issue further guidance for licensees as to what sales are continued to be permitted.

The governor also announced indoor and outdoor gatherings at private residences will be limited to no more than 10 people. The limit will be implemented due to the recent prevalence of COVID-19 spread resulting from small indoor gatherings including Halloween parties. These gatherings have become a major cause of cluster activity across the state. Further, this public health measure brings New York state in line with neighboring states including Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island. This new rule is also effective Friday at 10 p.m.

Cuomo took these actions amid a widespread increase in cases throughout the nation and an increase in New York, which was expected moving into the fall and winter seasons.

Speaking to the media in a conference call, the governor said, “We're taking several actions today. If you look at where the cases are coming from, if you do the contact tracing, you'll see they're coming from three main areas – and we're going to act on those three areas.

“First is bars and restaurants. We are going to have a requirement that statewide SLA, State Liquor Authority-licensed establishments close at 10 o'clock. What is a state-licensed facility? It is a bar, it's a restaurant overwhelmingly, is the majority of it. Bowling alley with a liquor license. But it's about bars and restaurants. That's one of the main spreaders of COVID.

“In theory, indoor dining, outdoor dining, you're at a table. You only take down the mask to eat or drink, but what happens is that setting is very hard to police; it's very hard for people to maintain the discipline of sitting there eating and drinking and chatting and having a good time and laughing and keeping a mask on.

“Bars and restaurants are one of the identified spreaders. They will close at 10 o'clock. A restaurant can do curbside food-only pickup after 10 o'clock, but food only pick up after 10 o'clock.

“Second, gyms. Gyms have to close at 10 o'clock. Gyms are also an identified spreading element. It's bars, restaurants, gyms.

“The states surrounding us have done a thing that I think is intelligent, and we're going to follow suit because I try to keep symmetry with the surrounding states whenever possible. New Jersey, for example, closed their bars and restaurants. I don't want to then drive their traffic to New York. States around us have capped parties at private residences to no more than 10 people in a residence. Unless your household happens to be more than 10, then it's your household.

“Halloween parties, football parties – ‘Just let's get together and have a party’ – this is the third one of the three great spreaders as identified by our contact tracing. So, the states around us have done this. We're going to do it also because, again, symmetry. I don't want people in Connecticut saying, ‘Well, we can't meet at my house, so we'll go meet at your house in New York.’ You don't want the traffic being steered. No more than 10 in a private residence for a party.

“Bars, restaurants, gyms, house parties – that's where it's coming from primarily, and those are the ones that we can address.”

Once again, Cuomo emphasized, “I need the local governments to enforce this. We went through this with bars and restaurants once before if you remember. We put rules in place. There was widespread lack of compliance and local governments – some did a good job, some really did not. We then had to put together a state task force to do the enforcement.

“This is statewide. I don't have the resources to do it, so I need the local governments to do it. I need the NYPD to do it in New York City; 150 sheriffs are not enough. It's just not enough to do all COVID safety: airports, borders, trains, buses, bars, restaurants. So, I need local enforcement to do it, because the rules are only as good as the individual discipline and the government enforcement.

“That's where we are. We will watch the numbers. We will continue to adjust as the facts adjust. You see some micro-clusters have been relaxed. We're making good progress on other micro-clusters, and I think you're going to see in the coming days some more micro-clusters relaxed. Steuben was relaxed. So we know it works.”

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