New York Senate Repeals Food Mandate At Bars

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The New York State Senate recently announced that they will repeal several COVID-19 related executive orders issued by Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Some of the orders being repealed include a mandate that requires food to be purchased with all booze sales at bars and restaurants and restoring a rule that labels high-level volunteers as public officers in compliance with government disclosure and transparency rules. Another order being repealed is the requirement that health care clinics must use all COVID-19 vaccine doses on hand within one week, or receive penalties if they do not.

“As more New Yorkers continue to get vaccinated, and our infection rates continue to decline, it is time to begin removing certain restrictions and regulations that are no longer necessary, so we can safely reopen and rebuild our state’s economy,” said Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins.

The resolution passed in the State Senate with a vote of 61-0, followed by the state Assembly which was approved 149-0.

While Gov. Cuomo insisted that the food-with-drinks executive order he issued last summer would help “fend off rowdy drinking crowds” and stop the spread of COVID-19, some politicians argued that the purchase of food with alcohol is not based on any science. This also brought serious frustrations to those in the hospitality industry who did not previously serve food. One dining establishment even sold $1 “Cuomo Chips” until Gov. Cuomo cracked on the eatery and emphasized that his order requires the sale of “substantial food items.”

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During a chamber debate, state Sen. John Mannion shared that he has yet to find any scientific literature that finds a correlation between ordering food with your drink and stopping the spread of COVID-19. He called the order “arbitrary” and said it discouraged residents from frequenting eateries and supporting their local economy. Another politician, Sen. George Borello, argued that the economic crisis was “absolutely manmade” by Gov. Cuomo and that Democrats should’ve trimmed Cuomo of his emergency pandemic powers early on.

“So here we are 54 days after we were told the governor’s powers were rescinded. Fifty-four days after people on both sides of the aisle stood on this floor and said that this particular executive order requiring food be purchased with alcohol was unscientific and very damaging. We waited 54 more days to do something about it,” Sen. Borello said.

It was also announced that the curfew for outdoor dining areas will be lifted beginning May 17 and indoor areas beginning May 31. The 1 a.m. curfew for catered events where attendees have provided proof of vaccination status or a recent negative COVID-19 test result will also be lifted beginning May 17.

Andrew Rigie, executive director of the NYC Hospitality Alliance, said in a statement that the adjustment is common sense and is a step in the right direction for supporting an industry that was financially devastated by the pandemic.

“New York City’s restaurants and bars have been financially devastated by Covid-19 restrictions and it’s great news that the state will finally undo the barstool ban and lift the arbitrary midnight curfew. These outdated policies made it too difficult for too many small business owners and workers to support themselves and their families, and were a grave inconvenience to customers,” Rigie said.

The radical left restrictions, which were praised last year, are now being acknowledged as orders based on zero scientific evidence or data. The science decided that french fries don’t matter anymore, but it was never about the “spread of COVID-19” or the fear of super-spreaders in the first place.

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