No more food requirement for alcohol service in New York, lawmakers repeal Gov. Cuomo’s order

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ALBANY, N.Y. (WROC) — Lawmakers in the New York State Legislature voted Wednesday to repeal Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s emergency order requiring people to order food with alcohol purchases at restaurants.

This repeal takes effect immediately.

The executive order, put in place by Gov. Cuomo last July, mandated that patrons order “substantive” food to be able to receive alcohol at bars and restaurants throughout the state.

The resolution to repeal passed unanimously in the State Senate with a vote of 61-0 and then was passed in the Assembly Wednesday afternoon.

“Today, the Assembly passed resolutions to repeal certain portions of a series of executive orders issued by the governor over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said in a statement. “These executive orders were issued in order to respond to the constantly evolving health crisis. Now, as New Yorkers continue to get vaccinated, and our infection rate continues to go down, there are executive orders that are no longer applicable or necessary.”

“Well, I gotta be honest with you, it’s one of those restrictions that’s been bugging us restaurant owners,” says Nick Nucci, of Nucci’s Italian Seafood and Steakhouse in Webster.

Nucchi says he’s thrilled the food order requirement —–or ‘Cuomo chips’ as some called them—- is gone. Liquor he says is where they make a lot of their profits. 

“So we’ve had to turn away a lot of liquor sales because of that rule,” he says.

With this change, Nucci says sales are going to increase. Over at Buntsy’s Bar, owner Dave Bunts says, “It’s a beautiful day. We never served (the food with drinks), to be honest with you.”

Bunts says this is one more step towards normalcy. “We’ve been keeping the lights on, to say the least. It’s been a struggle I’m sure for everyone out there.”

We asked Bunts if anyone ever thought the mandate was a good idea. “Nobody. Nobody. It’s a disaster,” he says.

“So that’s a restriction that’s going to be well-received by the restaurant industry,” says Nucci.

A midnight curfew remains for alcohol and food service businesses, and a 1 a.m. curfew for catered events throughout New York state, but the governor announced Wednesday that those curfews will be lifted next month.

Curfew for bars and restaurants will be lifted for outdoor dining areas on May 17, and indoor establishments beginning May 31.

The governor also announced that the 1 a.m. curfew for catered events, where attendees have provided proof of vaccination status or a recent negative COVID-19 test result, will be lifted beginning May 17, with the curfew for all catered events set to be lifted May 31. 

Wednesday’s vote on the food requirement for alcohol service happened within hours of the governor’s announcement on lifted curfews.

State legislators also voted to formally eliminate vaccination penalties and priority group regulations that they argue slowed down the vaccination process. Lawmakers also restored provisions of the Public Officers Law for volunteers who receive nominal or no compensation.

Check back with News 8 WROC as we will continue to update this developing story.

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