Hold the Cuomo Chips.
New York State lawmakers are making moves to repeal several COVID-19 restrictions put in place by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, including the mandate that food must be sold with drinks at bars and restaurants.
During the height of the pandemic, Cuomo issued a series of Executive Orders to help curtail the spread of the virus, including restricting sales at restaurants, which prompted some eateries to begin selling bags of potato chips - dubbed Cuomo chips at some locations - or other small items to skirt around the rule.
- Original story - COVID-19: Restaurant Adds $1 'Cuomo Chips' To Menu After NY Order Banning Buying Alcohol Only
Many have criticized the rule, including those in the restaurant industry and Republican lawmakers, who were critical of the mandate from the beginning, stating that the regulation was unfair to bars that didn’t customarily serve food.
- Related story - COVID-19: New Order For ‘Substantial Food’ Sold With Alcohol Snaps 'Cuomo Chip' Loophole
“We applaud the New York State Senate for its move to repeal executive orders requiring food sales with alcoholic beverage purchases in bars and restaurants. This adjustment is common sense, and is a step in the right direction for supporting an industry that was financially devastated by the pandemic,” Andrew Rigie, the executive director of the NYC Hospitality Alliance, said in a statement.
“We're encouraged by the Senate's appetite for responsibly loosening business restrictions, and urge its next actions to modify the midnight curfew and ban on barstools that unfairly discriminate against restaurants and bars."
The move comes as New York continues loosening its COVID-19 vaccination restrictions to begin welcoming walk-in appointments at mass sites. Last month, the Senate and Assembly also voted to repeal emergency powers that had been granted to Cuomo during the peak of the pandemic.
“New Yorkers have stepped up to take the appropriate safety precautions to curb the spread of COVID-19,” Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said in a statement. “As more New Yorkers continue to get vaccinated, and our infection rates continue to decline, it is time to begin removing certain restrictions and regulations that are no longer necessary, so we can safely reopen and rebuild our state's economy.
“We ask New Yorkers to continue to heed public health guidance as it relates to mask-wearing, observe social distancing precautions, and get vaccinated so that we don’t lose ground in our recovery.”
The legislature is expected to vote on the repeal as soon as Wednesday, April 28.
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