The New York Sate Liquor Authority (NYSLA) has decided to lift COVID-19 restrictions, which have limited bars and restaurants in the last year of the pandemic.
The agency met during its ordinary session on Wednesday and voted unanimously to lift its restrictions.
“I think this is great news and I will be voting for it,” said Commissioner Greeley Ford, who lives in the Utica area. “This will allow them to go back to normal operations as long as they follow guidelines from the Department of Health and the CDC,” he said.
The move will also restore the licenses of more than 150 licensees who agreed to restrictions as a punishment for violations last year. Bar and restaurant owners must adhere to their current license restrictions until their newly restored license is received in the mail. Licensees do not need to contact the alcohol authorities to obtain the restored license. These licenses are automatically processed and shipped before the end of the week. This removal of restrictions would not apply to licensees who did not resolve their violations with NYSLA.
Restaurants, bars, and venues can now follow the normal restrictions they already have on their liquor license unless there is a NYS Health Department restriction to replace it. You must continue to follow any new CDC requirements that are in line with NYS Health Department requirements.
The latest guidelines from the Ministry of Health can be found here.
The lifting of the NYSLA restrictions is effective immediately.
This means that in bars and restaurants, “fully vaccinated individuals do not need to wear masks or be socially distant, but unvaccinated individuals must continue to wear masks and be socially distant,” according to guidelines from the NYS Health Department.
During the COVID-19 outbreak, eating in bars and restaurants was stopped in March after last year, and since about that time last year, pandemic guidelines have been very slowly unraveling.
The NYSLA was tasked with enforcing strict guidelines for establishments that serve alcohol last year.