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June 29, 2020 – Governor Cuomo’s announcement this morning that there are complications with New York City’s entering Phase III (which is currently anticipated to be on July 6) as a result of individuals and businesses not complying with social distancing requirements forebodes a delay in New York City’s entering Phase III and, consequentially, the initial return to any indoor dining.

In light of this news, we want to remind our hospitality clients that there are many rules and regulations that must be strictly followed for outdoor dining under Phase II. We also wanted to alert our clients that to the fact that inspectors from various New York City and New York State agencies are – and will be – monitoring eating and drinking establishments closely and that enforcement actions taken against businesses found to be in violation will, most likely, have severe consequences.

The New York City Department of Transportation will be hosting a webinar tomorrow, June 30, at 3PM to go over its Open Restaurant Guidelines and answer questions. Information about how to register for the webinar is available here.

New York City’s Open Restaurants criteria and a link for a business to file a self-certified application to use a portion of the sidewalk and/or roadway is available here.

It is also worth noting that, prior to re-opening (whether in Phase II or Phase III), a business owner must read (and affirm that they have read) the guidelines set forth by the New York State Department of Health (NYS DOH).

  • The NYS DOH Guidelines for Phase II are here.
  • The NYS DOH Guidelines for Phase III are here.

At the bottom of each document is a link for the affirmation.

Every business must also have a written plan Safety Plan outlining how its workplace will prevent the spread of COVID-19. The NYS DOH has created a template that may be helpful; the template is available here.

Finally, please note that a business licensed by the New York State Liquor Authority must not only strictly adhere to its permitted method of operation (which may prevent the use of any live music or DJ’s in any outdoor space) but that violations of any NYC or NYS regulation will likely be referred to the SLA for enforcement action which could result in the business’ liquor license being suspended, cancelled, or revoked. Furthermore, pursuant to Governor Cuomo’s Executive Order 202.43, all licensed businesses are required to inspect, monitor, and otherwise supervise the area within 100 feet of their licensed premises to ensure that any sales of alcoholic beverages for off-premises consumption are not causing or contributing to violations of open container laws or social distancing requirements.

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