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COVID-19: New Order For ‘Substantial Food’ Sold With Alcohol Snaps 'Cuomo Chip' Loophole

Harvey's Restaurant and Bar started a trend that has been reversed by the State Liquor Authority.
Harvey's Restaurant and Bar started a trend that has been reversed by the State Liquor Authority. Photo Credit: Harvey's Restaurant and Bar

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's administration has closed a loophole that was started with a restaurant selling an item bearing his name.

The State Liquor Authority (SLA) has updated its guidance to require restaurants to sell a “substantial” food item with every alcohol order after a clever pub owner started selling $1 “Cuomo Chips” upstate in Saratoga Springs to circumvent the new order.

According to the SLA,  “‘Other foods’ are foods which are similar in quality and substance to sandwiches and soups; for example, salads, wings, or hotdogs would be of that quality and substance; however, a bag of chips, bowl of nuts, or candy alone are not.”

The new guidance from the state says that the “purchase of a food item which is consistent with the food availability requirement of the license under the Alcoholic Beverage Control Law shall mean that for each patron in a seated party, an item of food must be purchased at the same time as the purchase of the initial alcoholic beverage(s).

“Food items intended to complement the tasting of alcoholic beverages, which shall mean a diversified selection of food that is ordinarily consumed without the use of tableware and can be conveniently consumed, including but not limited to: cheese, fruits, vegetables, chocolates, breads, mustards, and crackers.”

The purpose of the new policy is to permit patrons the opportunity to have a sit-down dining experience in a small group with drinks, not a bar-type experience.

“A drinking, bar-type experience often involves or leads to mingling and other conduct that is non-compliant with social distancing and the use of face-covering and is therefore not yet a safe activity during the current health emergency,” officials said. 

“The spikes/resurgence of COVID-19 cases that this has caused in other states is something that New York must avoid at all costs.”

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