New York City bar and restaurant owners have closed, reopened, struggled and shifted business operations just to keep from going under amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Now, a new policy mandated by Gov. Andrew Cuomo could shut down some establishments permanently -- if they're not careful.
The governor announced on Thursday a new three-strikes-and-you're closed order that requires restaurants and bars to close after receiving three citations for failing to enforce safety measures such as face coverings and social distancing.
The governor said "egregious violations" may result in the immediate loss of a liquor license or closure even before a third strike.
Additionally, Cuomo warned that the state will publicly post the names and locations of establishments facing disciplinary action from the State Liquor Authority.
The SLA has updated it's Twitter feed with photos of bars and restaurants that have had their liquor licenses revoked.
Cuomo said the state has fielded thousands of complaints, particularly downstate.
"The state itself has looked at over 5,000 establishments in downstate New York and found many cases of a failure to comply," Cuomo said in a statement. "It's wrong, it's dangerous, it's selfish, it's unacceptable, it's also illegal."
"I'll tell you what's less politically popular -- if we have to close down a region because compliance wasn't done," Cuomo continued.
As he considers a final decision on whether New York City will enter phase 4 of reopening on Monday, Cuomo promised even more crackdowns.
Bar and restaurant patrons in the city have enjoyed walk-up bar service at newly reopened spots, but as of Thursday Cuomo shut that down as well -- now only seated patrons can be served.
Diners can only be served alcohol if they order and eat food at bar tops that are socially distanced at least 6 feet apart or separated by physical barriers.
Cuomo is expected to announce a decision on New York City entering phase 4 by Friday.
Citizens who see violations or are concerned can report complaints with photos to the SLA at www.sla.ny.gov.