New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, long adored by a sycophantic establishment media and somehow bolstered by his disastrous handling of the coronavirus pandemic in his state, has come up with another idiotic strategy to fight the virus: Forcing all patrons to purchase food with their drinks.
But battle-worn as they are by the ridiculous restrictions and abrupt closures they’ve endured since March, some New York state business owners cleverly adhered to the rules without implementing yet another overhaul in the way they operate, instead creating cheap, compliant food menu offerings — often for only $1.
From the same leader who brought COVID-19 directly to vulnerable patients in nursing homes, Cuomo’s new guidelines for establishments with liquor licenses stated they “shall not serve alcoholic beverages unless such alcoholic beverage is accompanied by the purchase of a food item which is consistent with the food availability requirement of the license under the Alcoholic Beverage Control Law,” among other restrictions from the New York State Liquor Authority guidance that went into effect on Friday.
The guidance mandates that even typically alcohol-only establishments would be subject to the rule change with the aim of “restricting the congregating and mingling that arise in a bar service/drinking only environment,” as if patrons will push away from the table and flee rather than ordering more drinks to accompany a meal.
The types of offerings that satisfy the requirement were broad for “manufacturers” such as wineries, breweries, or cider makers that served food to accompany tastings, including “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.”
However, venues that typically offer foods such as restaurants were relegated to heartier offerings such as “sandwiches, soups or other such foods” to be served with adult beverages.
This meant that places such as Handshakes Bar & Grill in tiny Hopewell Junction, about 40 miles north of New York City, were forced to cleverly curate the “Cuomo’s Unnecessary Obligated Menu Options” or “CUOMO” menu, featuring themed selections such as “Cuomo Fries” and “Few Chips Off Your Shoulder” (chips and salsa), with all items only $1 to give patrons options.
“Please don’t give your bartender a hard time, we didn’t make these rules,” the menu posted to the establishment’s Instagram account stated after outlining Cuomo’s compulsory food purchase, social distancing, and mask procedures.
WRGB-TV’s Steve Maugeri tweeted a photo of his receipt with Thursday’s date showing another establishment that obeyed the edict while mocking it at the same time.
“Tonight @NYGovCuomo ordered that bar/restaurant patrons can’t order alcohol unless they order food as well,” he wrote.
“Harvey’s Irish Pub in Saratoga Springs is serving ‘Cuomo Chips’ for a dollar so people won’t have to spend money on a larger meal.”
Tonight @NYGovCuomo ordered that bar/restaurant patrons can’t order alcohol unless they order food as well. Harvey’s Irish Pub in Saratoga Springs is serving “Cuomo Chips” for a dollar so people won’t have to spend money on a larger meal. pic.twitter.com/Lw8Z0w3puX
— Steve Maugeri (@CBS6SteveM) July 17, 2020
WSYR-TV reporter Andrew Donovan found something similar going on in the upstate town of Liverpool, New York.
“Home Team Pub in Liverpool has a $1 menu to comply with @NYGovCuomo’s ‘no food-no booze’ order,” Donovan tweeted with a photo of the pub’s menu with options such as “1 Small Boneless Wing,” “Handful O’ Tortilla Chips,” and “A Spoonful of Rice Pilaf,” among other absurdly minuscule selections.
He wrote that senior Cuomo adviser Rich Azzopardi had approved the selections.
Home Team Pub in Liverpool has a $1 menu to comply with @NYGovCuomo’s “no food-no booze” order. @RichAzzopardi has responded to similar tactics with approval: “As long as everyone is seated and not mingling at the bar” and “could be an app or a small plate.” pic.twitter.com/OLw8QtncnN
— Andrew Donovan (@AndrewDonovan) July 17, 2020
Lafayette Brewing Company in Buffalo had initially offered grapes and chips, according to Syracuse.com, but posted a revised “The Lafayette Not a Dollar Menu” to Facebook later on with heartier selections such as gnocchi, fish sticks, and pretzel fries.
“It was good stuff but unfortunately not in the parameters, it may see the light of day down the road but not right now,” the post mentioned of the previous choices. “RIP 1$ menu”
“Say hello to it’s ‘Cuomo compliant’ successor,” the establishment captioned the new menu.
Sickenberger Lane in Utica publicized in a Facebook post Thursday, “We will be serving our house made potato chips all night long to be served with your alcohol or non alcohol beverage purchase.”
It isn’t clear how long these creative but flippant letter-of-the-law compliant menus will last as Cuomo clearly meant business in an interview with the media Thursday when he announced the coming changes, according to The New York Times.
“We said outdoor dining,” Cuomo said. “We didn’t say outdoor bars.”
“No food? Then no alcohol,” Cuomo reportedly also said, cementing his iron-fisted approach to his residents’ eating and drinking habits.
The gall of politicians such as Cuomo issuing sweeping changes that seem to have little practical connection to the real world or even coronavirus transmission adds to the increasingly onerous obligations that business owners are continually bombarded with while trying to earn a living and satisfy their customers.
The good news is that these businesses are adapting in ways that are lighthearted and render such conditions useless, but officials’ motivations behind them should give pause to any freedom-loving American.
There is no common-sense rationalization, nor any scientific data, to back up any of these restrictions, which points instead to authoritarian rule from on high.
New York business owners are left to the whim of Cuomo, a politician on a power trip who is as incompetent as he is petulant and unyielding in the face of utter destruction of his constituents’ livelihoods and consumer choices.
Unfortunately, Cuomo’s rules are doing little more than preventing businesses from surviving the pandemic — which is exactly the effect his strategy had for too many of the elderly in his state’s nursing homes.
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