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Governor limits alcohol service, adopts 3 strikes rule for NY bars, restaurants

Gov. Andrew Cuomo delivers his daily coronavirus update Friday at Iona College in New Rochelle. (Photo provided by the governor’s office)

NEW YORK (AP) — Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Thursday a new “three strikes” policy that will require bars and restaurants to close after they receive three citations for failing to follow rules, including mask-wearing and keeping people 6 feet apart.

Cuomo said the state’s fielding thousands of complaints on top of “significant evidence of failure to comply” among restaurants and businesses, particularly downstate. He said “egregious violations” can still result in the immediate loss of a liquor license, and warned that the state would post names of restaurants and bars in violation.

“The state itself has looked at over 5,000 establishments in downstate New York and found many cases of a failure to comply,” he said. “It’s wrong, it’s dangerous, it’s selfish, it’s unacceptable, it’s also illegal.”

And restaurants and bars across New York can no longer allow walk-up bar service, or serve alcohol to people who aren’t buying food, he added.

He called on local governments to better enforce safety guidelines.

“I’ll tell you what’s less politically popular — if we have to close down a region because compliance wasn’t done,” he said.

New York is also launching a national advertising campaign encouraging people to wear masks, said Cuomo, who has expressed concern about rising infections out-of-state. He announced a $2,000 fine for airport travelers from states with high infection rates who don’t fill out a form to help New York track compliance with a 14-day quarantine requirement.

About 1% of 72,000 COVID-19 tests conducted Wednesday were positive in New York, according to Cuomo’s office. Meanwhile, 14 people died in hospitals and nursing homes.

CHILD CARE SLOTS

Cuomo will decide in early August whether schools in parts of the state in the fourth phase can open their doors to students and teachers this fall.

New York City will ease the burden on working parents by providing 100,000 child care slots for youngsters who will only be in their physical schoolrooms two or three days a week under the city’s hybrid back-to-school plan, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Thursday.

De Blasio said that for parents who need to report to their workplaces, “the child care will make all the difference in the world. And here’s where the can-do spirit of this city comes in.”

The Democratic mayor announced earlier this month that under coronavirus-safety protocols, most of the city’s 1.1 million public school students will be in their physical classrooms only part of the week when school starts in September. Students will learn remotely the rest of the time under the plan, which is subject to approval by the governor.

The plan offers a contrast to districts like Los Angeles and San Diego that have announced that no students will be in classrooms when school starts.

De Blasio said City Hall staffers are looking at sites like libraries and community centers to house the new child care programs. He said organizations that already provide after-school care under contract to the city will be asked if they can expand their services.

Details, including the program’s cost to the city, were not provided.