UPPER EAST SIDE, Manhattan — The NYPD and the sheriffs were patrolling the Upper East Side at the start of the Memorial Day Weekend to make sure there were no crowded sidewalks as people waited for their cocktails to go.
“Please maintain your social distance. Stay six feet apart” was the message blaring from the loudspeaker of a sheriff’s car.
It’s tough enough to practice social distancing six feet apart on a crowded Upper East Side sidewalk as you wait for your cocktails and take out dinner, but many picking up their “booze to go” linger and socialize instead of going, like last weekend when a crowd formed as police issued a summons to one customer for having an open container.
But now to help the ailing bars and restaurant business, State Sen. Brad Hoylman has introduced a bill to extend for two more years Gov. Cuomo‘s order allowing alcohol to be sold in sealed containers as long as it’s accompanied by take-out food.
“It will enable small businesses, bars and restaurants to have that additional revenue for two years subject to community board and municipal approval,” Hoylman told PIX11 News.
The proposal immediately got a thumbs up from a new group formed to help the restaurant business which predicts between 50 and 80% of restaurants may close because of the pandemic and the safety guidelines that may eventually be required.
“The road to recovery is very long and challenging and this is a positive step for us,” Camilla Marcus, a found member of ROAR, which stands for Relief Opportunities for All Restaurants, told PIX11 News.
For Cindy Guyer, the owner of Guyer’s Café, “to go cocktails may help but it may not be enough. I don’t have a problem with it as long as we can become a restaurant again."
And a customer picking up a cocktail to go liked the idea.
“As long as we are supporting local businesses, I don’t have a problem with that,” Sarah Avrov said.
The governor’s office has yet to comment on the proposal.