SARATOGA SPRINGS NY (WRGB) – You can no longer only buy alcohol at restaurants or bars in New York, Governor Cuomo announced Thursday. However, managers and owners look at this as just another hoop people have to jump through to go out.
Bars and restaurants learned of the new regulation only hours before the rush usually starts so they had to retrain staff and find creative ways to avoid turning away customers that aren’t hungry.
In Saratoga Springs, Harvey’s Irish Pub Owner Matthew Bagely decided to put “Cuomo chips” on everyone’s bill, so customers don’t have to buy a full meal.
“I mean why not, they’re his chips, they’re his rule so he might as well get some recognition and acknowledgment for another little hurdle we have to jump through as business owners,” Bagely.
Christina Hoffnegle and her husband say the chips are quite good and are a great paper weight for their receipt. But say they leave a bad aftertaste about how their dining experiences will be for now.
“As long as you’re in compliance with the masks I don’t feel that it should matter if you’re sitting down having a drink or having something to eat,” Hoffnegle said. “Once again another infringement on our rights but I agree full heartedly there are precautions that need to be taken.”
The state order says only bars and restaurants can’t serve alcohol unless they serve a food item. Bagely says these chips count as food.
“For the time being until we have more information– That’s food. And you can buy it for a dollar,” he said.
CBS 6’s Steve Maugeri reached out to Governor Cuomo’s office about this creative solution. They didn’t specifically say chips count but said that customers don’t have to get a full meal to order a drink.
Over at the Night Owl, management says this order puts pressure on customers looking to just grab a drink. They’re worried less customers may come out at a time when bars and restaurants are already operating with limited seating and strict guidelines.
“They might not want to eat food and meet them and whatever and have a social experience and now we have to mandate how that happens,” said Alex Strauss, Operational Partner at Night Owl.
The state order also established a “three strikes and you’re closed” rule on bars and restaurants, where the state will automatically shut them down if they violate state guidelines three times. Governor Cuomo says the changes came after seeing serious problems with social distancing, specifically in New York City.
Bagely says even with his new way to draw in customers with full stomachs, he isn’t worried.
“Were not even close to a strike,” he said. “We couldn’t be more socially distanced at this point.”
If a bar or restaurant gets a strike, depending on how bad the violation is, they could be stripped of their liquor license before being shut down.
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