NYC Bar Owner Petitions Against Cuomo Food Requirement

Photo credit Jeenah Moon/Getty Images

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) – A Manhattan bar owner has started an online petition to get Gov. Andrew Cuomo to amend his law requiring bars to serve “substantive” food with drinks in order to stay open amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Abby Ehmann, who owns the East Village bar Lucky, created the petition “Seating not Eating.” It has nearly reached its goal of 2,500 signatures.

“I don't think the way to fight that is by requiring everyone to eat food. I think that would be better to fight the crowding is that everyone be required to be seated,” Ehmann said.

Cuomo’s recent mandate requires bars to serve meals—not just snacks like chips.

Ehmann said that approach could potentially be riskier.

“If you’re just drinking a beer, my exposure serving you that beer is very different than me serving you food, you sitting at a table full of people licking you fingers,” she said. “It’s just a lot more germs the way I see it.”

She said simply requiring bars to have customers be seated at socially distanced tables is a “far more elegant solution” since some establishments have ignored social distancing rules and allowed standing crowds to gather.

“The tables are supposed to be six feet apart, which is fine, but if you’ve got eight people standing around that table, those people are no longer distanced from the table next to them,” Ehmann said.