Despite the fact that new legislation may legalize to-go and delivery cocktails for the long haul, the city is still sending mixed messages without making an official announcement on open-container laws. We're all left wondering: So we can walk to a local bar, order a cocktail but we can't drink it on the spot?
Currently, you can grab a cocktail from your favorite bar, but bar owners told Time Out New York last week that they must be provided with lids or bottle caps—where and when customers imbibe that margarita or beer once they leave the premises is another matter. At some bars across the city, hangouts have developed outside as customers sip their to-go drinks or wait to place another order in the increasingly warm weather. And while for customers it may be a small respite and a chance at socializing with fellow New Yorkers during this strange time, Mayor Bill de Blasio has concerns over crowded hangouts outside of bars not following social-distancing practices.
De Blasio has announced a new campaign dubbed “take out, don’t hang out" to remind people to go home after picking up their drink orders instead of forming crowds on the sidewalks and streets outside of a bar. In fact, he's calling upon the police to target nine "bar-heavy" neighborhoods: Hell's Kitchen, East Village, the Bronx's City Island, Williamsburg, Lower East Side, Astoria, West Village, Long Island City and the Upper East Side. The NYPD will be patrolling these neighborhoods to ensure social-distancing.
“We’re not going to tolerate people starting to congregate. It’s as simple as that,” Gothamist first reported de Blasio saying. “Please share with us those locations, and we will deal with them immediately."
Last week, Brooklyn bar Pearl's Social & Billy Club urged customers on its Instagram account to be mindful of the toll that congregating could have on their favorite businesses: "Hanging out and openly drinking within the vicinity of the bar, even across the street or down the block, you are jeopardizing the small business you are trying to support. The State Liquor Authority is cracking down on public drinking right now and that means BIG fines for small businesses that are just trying to make it through the shutdown. We can’t wait to welcome you back into our bar arms again, but we can’t hang out like the good old days yet."
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