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Cuomo keeping heavy hand on bars and restaurants as NYC’s infection rate drops to 1%

June 17, 2020- Albany, NY- Governor Andrew Cuomo holds daily Coronavirus press briefing (Darren McGee- Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo)

With only three deaths across the state and 53,000 tests confirming an infection rate of 1%, Governor Andrew Cuomo has no plans of letting up on bars where social distancing measures are not upheld.

In fact, the state has issue 105 violations over the weekend to watering holes in the city, Nassau and Suffolk Counties who may be subject to suspensions of their licenses by the State Liquor Authority starting tomorrow for allowing patrons to occupy sidewalks and violate open container laws as well as social distancing and / or mask mandates.

“Don’t get cocky… You still have the national threat and then you have the compliance challenge,” Cuomo said in a Sunday phone call. “The board will be meeting to talk about it tomorrow.”

Two of the most common violations issued in the sweep were instances of disregard for the open container policy and employees not wearing masks. In the past week, Steinway Street in Astoria was added to the list of problem sections in the city where crowding and drinking has come under scrutiny. Since then, the city government has closed outdoor dining for several establishments including Brik.

But while Cuomo plans to keep a watchful eye on the food and beverage industry, he called on New York Republicans to hold their colleagues to deliver stimulus aid for the sake of continuing the $600 unemployment bonus and to curb the $15 billion loss of revenue for the state. 

According to Cuomo, the state and those on unemployment may need Washington to act fast: “It’s going to be this last action, whether that’s going to be in one week or two weeks, but I don’t believe we’re going to get past that.”

The HEROES Act would have provided this assistance, but while it was passed on May 15 by Congress, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has refused to bring the bill to floor for a vote. McConnell has, however, changed his opinion on providing financial relief to states.

“That is going to cause tremendous distress for people if the unemployment stops. Washington is playing politics, they’re in gridlock. Republicans don’t even have a proposal on the table, but they’re about to end unemployment,” Cuomo said. “If we don’t get state aid from Washington, it’s going to be a very bad situation for this state and the people of this state.”

Up to 36 states are currently on the state’s “quarantine list,” meaning non-essential workers who spend over 24 hours there before coming to New York must isolate for 14 days, and until those states start meeting certain numbers they will remain on the list, said Cuomo. 

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