New restrictions for bars and restaurants, social gatherings as COVID-19 cases continue to rise

Beginning Friday, New York State will limit the hours on any establishment that holds a liquor license, forcing them to close at 10 p.m. nightly in direct response to rising COVID-19 cases throughout the state.

The new restriction was among a series of measures announced by Governor Andrew Cuomo in a Wednesday conference call with media.

The rule will mostly impact bars and restaurants, but may also force places like bowling alleys that serve alcohol to close at 10 p.m. daily.

Mr. Cuomo said restaurants will be permitted to offer food only — no alcohol — to go after 10 p.m.

“If the lights are on and people are drinking, they get a summons,” he said.

Gyms, which were permitted to reopen at reduced capacity in late August, will also be required to close at 10 p.m.

The governor said that the state’s contact tracing program has indicated the virus may be spreading from contact at bars and restaurants, gyms as well as private, in-home gatherings.

New York will also follow measures implemented by neighboring states to limit the number of people attending private parties to no more than 10 people.

“Halloween parties, football parties … this is one of the three great spreaders as identified by our contact tracing,” the governor said. “I don’t want people in Connecticut saying well we can’t meet at my house, so we’ll go meet at your house in New York. We don’t want the traffic being steered.”

On Tuesday, there were 164,300 tests administered statewide, with 4,820 positive results, bringing the infection rate to 2.93%.

There were 1,628 people hospitalized due to Covid-19 and the state reported 21 fatalities. Suffolk County numbers for today have not yet been released but there were more than 1,100 new cases announced in the past four days.

Gov. Cuomo said he believes the measures are appropriate in response to seeing a global uptick in virus transmission and said further measures, such as further reducing capacity for indoor dining, for example, would be considered if rates continue to rise.

The new statewide rules will take effect Friday, Nov. 13 at 10 p.m.