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New York State Liquor Authority to bars and restaurants: No drinking, bar-type experiences

The New York State Liquor Authority is sending out additional guidance, focused on clarifying guidance on bars and restaurants issued last week.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — The New York State Liquor Authority is sending out additional guidance on what bars and restaurants are able to do amid the pandemic, in terms of alcohol consumption. 

Last week the Governor’s Office mandated that bars and restaurants only serve alcohol to customers who are seated and ordering food.

The move is intended to address social distancing issues. 

That additional guidance has come out in the form of a Q&A from the state, meant to clarify the guidance that was given out last week. 

Restaurants and bars that don't manufacture alcohol have to serve drinks with food that's closer to a meal. The state clarifies that foods such as salads, wings, a dessert, and hot dogs would work; a bag of chips or pretzels is not enough.

The SLA also says a food item does not need to be bought with each drink, so long as that initial food item is large enough. 

We spoke to one bar owner about the additional guidance.

"The reality is everybody is pretty creative and will come up with ways I don't want to say circumvent but work within the parameters that they're giving us to continue to try to create a revenue stream that's approachable to what we had in the past this is survival," said Nick Patillo, the owner of Osteria 166.

He doesn't think the guidance will address social distancing issues.

"Personally, no, I think that if people have the intent of congregating and having a party and not socially distance, this is not going to stop them from doing that, frankly," Patillo said.

The state also clarifies that if you are only a manufacturer, such as a brewery, that finger foods such as chips and crackers are allowed when drinks are served.

People can still sit at the bar, so long as there is social distancing in place.

The SLA says it's really trying to root out a drinking, bar-style experience, where there is congregating. 

The SLA says if restaurants, bars or taverns have any questions about the guidance that they should work with the understanding that customers should be having a sit-down dining experience. 

You can read the full guidance from the state, which includes food trucks and to-go orders.

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