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  • Writer's pictureJennifer A. Shoemaker

New York Clamps Down on Gyms, Bars and Restaurants

As COVID-19 numbers rise in New York, Governor Cuomo has landed another blow to gyms, bars, and restaurants trying to stay afloat in this unprecedented time. Late last week, Cuomo limited the number of people allowed to dine at the same table to 4. Yesterday, the Governor announced that all bars, restaurants, and gyms across New York State must close by 10:00p.m., except for operating takeout and delivery services, which cannot include alcohol. The new directive includes all establishments with a New York State liquor license, including bowling alleys and the like. The rules take effect Friday, November 13 until further notice.

Cuomo has hinted that if these restrictions aren’t effective in curbing the spread of the disease, he will take further steps, likely to include first the reduction, and possibly the cessation, of all indoor dining at bars and restaurants. Cuomo stated:

“if that doesn’t work, if the numbers keep going crazy…you will go back to a closedown.”

Cuomo said the local governments are in charge of enforcement.

Restaurant and bar owners are understandably upset, asking the Governor to provide actual data to the public, through contact tracing, that dining in a restaurant has contributed to the increased infection rate. Cuomo said, “if you look at where the cases are coming from, if you do the contact tracing, you’ll see they’re [the increase in COVID cases] are coming from three main areas: establishments where alcohol is served, gyms, and indoor gatherings at private homes.”

Cuomo acknowledged, “it’s been hard on everyone and it’s been hardest on those families who have lost a loved one. Losing money hurts, but losing a loved one lasts forever.

The restaurant industry continues to keep a close watch on the federal government with the hopes that another stimulus package will pass, and that it will include a revitalization fund that would provide significant help to independent restaurants and bars with fewer than 20 locations. Members of the national trade group Independent Restaurant Coalition, said 85% of establishments could permanently close by the end of the year without federal relief.

These latest restrictions impact establishment owners, employees and suppliers whose livelihoods depend on the hospitality industry. It is estimated that local independent restaurants employ over 11 million people across the country and indirectly support 5 million more in the supply chain.

If you have any questions regarding the issues discussed above or if you have any other Labor & Employment Law concerns, please contact the Underberg & Kessler attorney who regularly handles your legal matters or Jennifer Shoemaker, the author of this piece, here or at (585) 258-2825.

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