Palmesano Responds to Governor's New Regulations Targeting Restaurants, Bars, Wineries and Breweries

July 17, 2020

The governor announced new, burdensome regulations banning bars, restaurants, wineries and breweries from serving alcohol to patrons who do not order food and are not being served food.

Assemblyman Phil Palmesano (R,C,I-Corning) is outraged.

“This arbitrary and destructive action will further hurt small businesses that have already been crushed during the COVID-19 shutdown. If it was safe to have a glass of wine or a beer six feet away from other customers yesterday, what changed overnight? This is just the whim of the governor, who is obsessed with controlling nearly every aspect of everyday life in the state of New York. Under Phase IV for our region, the governor increased and set capacity limits at 50% for restaurants, bars, wineries, and breweries serving food or beverages, and he is once again moving the goalposts in the middle of the game, even with our lower infection rates. This action is the latest example of the governor exceeding and abusing his emergency powers. This is why so many of my colleagues and I have been urging members on the other side of the aisle to join us in taking action to finally end the governor’s emergency powers that he’s consistently abused for months. Enough is enough,” said Palmesano.

Palmesano said this executive action could be particularly harmful for the Southern Tier and Finger Lakes Region, the center of the state’s multi-billion-dollar wine, craft beverage and agritourism industry.

“Ironically, this is an industry the governor has boasted about and supported in the past. This new mandate will prolong the financial hardship and crisis. The small, family-owned operations that power the area’s tourism have worked hard to adapt to the changing regulations by the governor and can’t continue to absorb additional, costly mandates after losing months of business,” said Palmesano

Palmesano added this action is being driven by reported violations of overcrowded bars in New York City and downstate New York. “Once again, Gov. Cuomo is instituting another ‘one-size fits all’ approach. The Southern Tier and Finger Lakes Region is not New York City. We do not have the density or the infections that downstate has, and the small businesses and employees here, who have been following the rules, should not be hurt and penalized because of actions taking place in New York City.”

Palmesano also questioned the timing of the order. "We’ve made progress here. Infection rates across the state are extremely low, especially here in the Southern Tier and Finger Lakes Region. We need to continue to work together to protect public health, but this order is an extreme and unnecessary reaction. This is not the time to blindside these businesses and workers. This is the time we should be helping them, not hurting them even more than they have been. They made sacrifices. They followed the governor’s rules and shut-down orders, and they are just trying to survive and avoid an economic catastrophe. This is the worst possible time for the governor to mandate devastating new regulations. It’s arbitrary and it's just wrong."