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A bartender sells a frozen margarita to go to a customer in the Bushwick neighborhood on April 2, 2020 in New York City. (Photo by Stephanie Keith/Getty Images)
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New York Gov. Says Restaurants, Bars Can’t Serve Alcohol Without Food

A bartender sells a frozen margarita to go to a customer in the Bushwick neighborhood on April 2, 2020 in New York City. (Photo by Stephanie Keith/Getty Images)

NEW YORK (AP) – New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Thursday a new “three strikes” policy that will require bars and restaurants to close after they receive three citations for failing to follow rules, including mask-wearing and keeping people 6 feet (2 meters) apart.

Cuomo said the state’s fielding thousands of complaints on top of “significant evidence of failure to comply” among restaurants and businesses, particularly downstate. He said “egregious violations” can still result in the immediate loss of a liquor license, and warned that the state would post names of restaurants and bars in violation.

“The state itself has looked at over 5,000 establishments in downstate New York and found many cases of a failure to comply,” he said. ”It’s wrong, it’s dangerous, it’s selfish, it’s unacceptable, it’s also illegal.”

And restaurants and bars across New York can no longer allow walk-up bar service, or serve alcohol to people who aren’t buying food, he added.

He called on local governments to better enforce safety guidelines.

“I’ll tell you what’s less politically popular — if we have to close down a region because compliance wasn’t done,” he said.

New York is also launching a national advertising campaign encouraging people to wear masks, said Cuomo, who has expressed concern about rising infections out-of-state. He announced a $2,000 fine for airport travelers from states with high infection rates who don’t fill out a form to help New York track compliance with a 14-day quarantine requirement.

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