NY Governor Cuomo warns, You Can Lose Your Liquor License, You Can Be Fined for Breaking Open Container Law
Reacts to the 25,000 or so complaints about violations committed by Businesses during Reopening; with New York City and the Hamptons leading the way in numbers.
“It’s disrespectful to the health care workers and the essential workers who sacrificed themselves for 100 days, some of whom died and gave their life to crush this COVID virus. They gave their life. It is disrespectful not to have the courtesy, the decency, to wear a mask.”
Today, Governor Cuomo would give a stern warning to businesses, bars and the people who patronize them. He stated that those businesses not in compliance with Reopening guidelines were liable to lose their liquor licenses due to the many complaints received by the State. As well, he warned patrons who were breaking the Open Container Laws which prohibits the public consumption or carrying of a container of alcohol. In numerous videos found online, hundreds of people on certain NYC streets can be seen in close proximity to each other, with many not wearing masks.
Today, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo would spend half of his daily press briefing discussing the subject of this posting. He would go over that which allowed the state to recover from its devastating run-in with the COVID-19 pandemic and how easily the success can be reversed in a matter of a week. He would then go on to speak about other locales within the United States as well as across the world – how some locations have had to shut down once again due to increased transmission rates.
“These are facts and if you ignore the facts — it’s going to be to our peril —I promise you that,” said the Governor.
“Some states — Utah and Oregon— are rolling back reopening. Imagine how devastating and dramatic an action that is. Imagine how dramatic and dangerous this situation has to be for a state to say — we’re stopping the reopening.”
Thereafter, Mr. Cuomo pointed out how there were upwards of 25,000 violation complaints against businesses that were not adhering to each of their respective Region’s Phased guidelines. There are different guidelines set forth by the state for each phase of a region’s reopening status.
He pointed to the many videos, photos and stories of people congregating outside restaurants and bars and how New York City’s borough of Manhattan and Long Island’s Hamptons were leading the way in complaint totals.
The Governor then warned restaurants and bars, as well as patrons who were drinking alcoholic beverages in public, that they could respectively lose their liquor license and be fined. He called upon local leaders to do their job in enforcing the law. Not merely over those mentioned but, as well, the police force whom he said were not adhering to the rules and guidelines of wearing facial coverings.
It should be noted that on March 12, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced and signed the New York City State of Emergency Declaration during that day’s press conference. He would list out the extended powers afforded to local government if/when the need should arise. One of those powers included the following: “The ability to suspend or limit alcohol use, firearms, explosives, flammable material and liquids.”
In hindsight one realizes now why the need existed to include alcohol within that list. At the time, it wasn’t clear yet now it is.
At the end of May, when discussions were in place for outdoor dining, I asked the Mayor a related question. I asked him about concerns over people drinking alcohol and forgetting themselves in light of and in spite of the COVID-19 Crisis. I also referred my question to the NYC Council Speaker. Their answers were neither what I expected to hear, nor what I had hoped for.
The following is the transcript of Governor Cuomo’s words.
“Understand the facts-New York State is leading the nation’s reduction in the transmission of the virus. New York State where we had the worst numbers on the transmission of the virus. Worst numbers on the number of cases. Now has the best numbers in terms of reducing the rate of transmission. That is a startling turnaround that they will record in the history books. And when we get past this and we have a little perspective, they’ll look back and they’ll study how New York State did what it did. And my answer is going to be the same: because New Yorkers rose to the occasion, in a way nobody could have anticipated and nobody did. You look at all those projection models early on — go ask yourself what happened? Why were all those projection models wrong? Because there was a factor they didn’t consider, which is the resilience and the strength of New Yorkers. So, we’re leading the nation.
And at the same time, you have another fact: the virus spread is increasing dramatically in post-reopening states across the nation. So, hold two facts in your hands. One: New York is doing better than any state in reducing the virus. Fact. Another fact. States post-reopening are seeing a dramatic increase. Not New York. Not yet. But that is a serious caution for us. And that’s what I am focused on. You look at the rate of transmission: New York, first dot. All the way on the left — lowest rate of transmission in the nation. This is an independent Web site that has been started by the founders of Instagram, which we’ve been following. You see the states up at the top red, those are the states that have the highest rate of transmission. The green to red is one or more. Because at one — a transmission rate of one — they classify the virus as an outbreak, or an epidemic. So, we have the best rate.
But we’re seeing all across the nation, this same warning: new lockdowns. Second waves. Increase. WHO is talking about it. Dr. Fauci is talking about it. The CDC is talking about it. You couldn’t have more warnings from any additional sources. They’re even talking about Italy having a rise again and Italy had a horrific situation. So, if there’s so it is a country that should be showing caution in the reopening — it is Italy.
You see this all across the globe. You cannot ignore it. These are facts and if you ignore the facts — it’s going to be to our peril —I promise you that. The reason we made the progress was because we followed the facts even though it was hard. Don’t disregard the facts: 22 states are seeing increases. And these are states that don’t have some of our inherent issues. They don’t have the density. They don’t have the population. They don’t have the crowding. And they’re seeing increases. It’s much easier to reduce the viral spread in states with smaller populations. it’s much easier to reduce the viral spread in states with less density and less crowding. Where you don’t have tall apartment buildings, where everybody’s getting in the same elevator. Or in the same lobby, or in the same park outside. We have natural obstacles to controlling the viral spread and we’re controlling it despite that. Alright? So just hear the facts. Washington State — which had the first case in a nursing home, which was devastating — they’re seeing an increase in coronavirus cases. South Carolina is seeing it. Some states — Utah and Oregon— are rolling back reopening. Imagine how devastating and dramatic an action that is. Imagine how dramatic and dangerous this situation has to be for a state to say — we’re stopping the reopening. What makes the determination? It’s what we do. It is our behavior nothing more nothing less. Well the numbers a good those numbers can change in a week. They can change a week. You get undisciplined, you’ll see those numbers change in a week once they change you can’t change them back that quickly.
Now we’re getting reports from all across the state that there are large gatherings, social distancing is being violated, people are not wearing masks. We have gotten 25,000 complaints to the State of businesses that are in violation of the reopening plan – 25,000 complaints. We have never received more complaints in a shorter period of time. 25,000 – just think about that.
What’s alarming about the 25,000 is the volume but it also shows how smart people are and how offended people are that they’re calling and complaining. This is a time in history we’ve never seen before. Think about how concerned New Yorkers are not just to see the violation but then to care enough to come back and write a letter or call registering the complaint. You know why? They’re afraid for themselves. They walk past the business. They see the businesses violating the rules and they are saying my health is jeopardized – my health – and that’s why they’re complaining. 25,000, especially at bars and restaurants. Okay? This is the situation and these are the facts. Well they’re not being ethical, they’re not being moral, they’re not been good New Yorkers. Great.
They’re also violating the law. This is a question of violating the law. Not just feel guilty – you’re violating the law. All right? This is a very serious situation and I want to make sure everybody knows the consequences here. A bar or restaurant that is violating these rules can lose their liquor license. State Liquor Authority inspectors are out. We have a task force of State investigators who are out. You can lose your liquor license and that is a big deal for a bar or restaurant. We are not kidding around with this. You’re talking about jeopardizing people’s lives. It’s a legal violation and the SLA inspectors are out there. I am telling you that. I called a couple of bars and restaurants myself where I saw the pictures of the situations that were in their bars and restaurants and I said to them you’re playing with your license. There is no excuse. Well, I told people and they did it even though I told them. You are responsible for the people in your establishment. There’s no excuse.
Well, the local legislator told me I could do this. No one can tell you that you can violate the law. There’s nobody who can tell you that. Well, my brother said as long as I I don’t care what your brother said. You violate the law, you can lose your license and you will. We’re not kidding around about this. If you are an individual you can’t violate the open container law. There is an open container law. You can’t stand on the sidewalk drinking a beer. You’re violating the open container law.
The social distancing, mask-wearing, these are legal violations. Protesters and police, the law applies to you. “Well, I’m protesting.” Yeah, I understand that. You can protest. The law still applies to you. Police department, your job is to enforce the law. Why don’t you follow the law? It’s a very bad signal when you see police people who are not wearing a mask and not following the law. How can you enforce the law if you’re not following the law? So, wear a mask, and also to locally elected who are in charge of the police department, it’s your responsibility to make sure your police department follows the law. The local governments, you are responsible for monitoring the compliance with the reopening plan. That is the local government’s responsibility. We’ve been very clear about this from day one. We go to phase one, we go to phase 2, we go to phase 3 – the local government is responsible for compliance.
Mayors, county executives, you have to do your job. I understand it’s an unpopular position to have to enforce the law. I understand nobody wants to go to a sidewalk with people drinking and say you can’t drink on the sidewalk. I understand that. I understand nobody wants to say to a bar, restaurant, you know, you’re only supposed to be in an open-air area and you’re not supposed to be violating social distancing. I understand that. I understand it’s not popular. I get it. You know what’s more unpopular? If that region closes because that local government did not do their job. That can happen.
Utah, Oregon had to reverse their reopening plan. Before I reverse a statewide position, I’ll tell you what I’m going to do: I’m going to reverse it in those areas that are not in compliance with the rules. I’m going to reverse it in those areas where those local governments did not comply with the law. That is what is going to happen here. I am warning today, in a nice way, consequences of your actions. We have 25,000 complaints statewide. I’m not going to turn a blind eye to that. New Yorkers deserve better.
Manhattan and the Hamptons are the leading areas in the state with violations. These are not hard to spot violations. People send video of these violations, you can look it up on social media. You don’t need a detective squad to go out and find them. They are rampant and there’s not enough enforcement. I am not going to allow situations to exist that we know have a high likelihood of causing an increase in the spread of the virus.
If we increase the spread of the virus in Manhattan because of bars and restaurants, well then everybody in Manhattan is going to suffer. That’s not fair either. Local government, do your job. Local government do your job. If we have to close, then people are going to hold you accountable. Bars and restaurants, do your job, or you can have an SLA violation and possibly loss of your license. Individuals who are violating the law, you can be held liable also. We got here because people did the right thing and if we stop doing the right thing we’ll see a very different trajectory.
I am telling you that you look at all the other states – it’s not hard to figure out what is happening here. It’s happened in half the states in the nation. So far, we have been the exception. We’re not going to go back to that dark place because local government didn’t do its job or because some individuals exploited the situation besides the legal violation. Because our success here was not based on what government did. Our success here was based on individual action and social action. That’s why this moment was so special. It’s what 19 million people did and they did what they had to do not because there was a legal sanction, not because I was going to knock on their door and hand them a ticket, that’s not why they stayed home. That’s not why they closed their business. They did it because it was the right thing to do. To these people who are now violating it. It’s illegal. It’s also wrong. It is just disrespectful not to wear a mask. It’s disrespectful to the health care workers and the essential workers who sacrificed themselves for 100 days, some of whom died and gave their life to crush this COVID virus. They gave their life. It is disrespectful not to have the courtesy, the decency, to wear a mask. We all celebrate them, demonstrations, TV ads, God bless the health care workers. Yeah, good, act that way. Act that way. Show a modicum of respect and wear a mask.
It’s also disrespectful to the people who you could infect. Well, I’m 25, I’m a superhero, it’s not going to bother me. First of all, you’re wrong, it could kill you, but that’s your life. It’s disrespectful to the other people who you could infect. It’s disrespectful to a parent, to a grandparent, to a cousin, to a brother, to someone who you run into on the sidewalk and you don’t even know, but happens to have a compromised immune system because they’re battling cancer or because they’re battling HIV and you in fact them you and wind up killing them. In some ways, we’re in this great moment where society is so caring of the rights of one another and that’s a beautiful thing. Well then let’s be caring about the rights of each other and respect people’s health and respect people’s lives. We’re not asking for much. It’s basic decency of a society…”