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Mr. Mayor, New Yorkers are Entitled to Our Streets in Peace Without Threat of Infection from Drunks without Masks

Mr Mayor, New Yorkers are Entitled to Walk Down Our Streets in Peace without the threat of infection from half cocked selfish people not wearing masks!

Updated on June 17, 2020

So after two consecutive days of no press briefing and spending a day home from work due to a supposed stomach bug, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio had a press briefing today.

I surely thought he’d touch on the latest concerns emanating from Albany. That is, Governor Cuomo’s threats to shut things down if something wasn’t done about the bars and restaurants and all the lovely people getting half cocked in the streets of the city sans mask. Gee, you’d think it’d be part of any Mayor’s priorities aye?

Stranger still is how not one of the press members, chosen this day to ask a question, actually raised the issue. Oh sure, one sort of brushed on the subject but that really wasn’t it.

So what’s my beef?

A question I had in mind for the Mayor, should I have been picked, is whether he would allow Booze To Go purchases after the Outdoor Dining plan was in place. Surely, why would you allow people to continue to buy liquor if the restaurants are serving at tables. Albeit, tables set six feet apart from each other outdoors, but it should do, right? Actually, it might not.

You see, with social distancing in place, there might not be enough room within these outdoor established places for dining and imbibing for all who are interested.

‘and thus, the method to my madness arises. IF people are allowed to still purchase booze then those who can’t find a table will surely do that which they’ve been doing for weeks now. Contrary to what the Mayor believes, they’ll be hanging around if not walking the streets with drink in hand without a mask on…Not as the Mayor pretends to believe: going straight home to enjoy their drink. I’ve no qualms about this going on under normal circumstances. That is, in a world not concerned with social distancing or the wearing of masks. Unfortunately, we don’t live in that world now and people’s lives are at stake.

I asked the mayor about this last month, just as I did with the Council Speaker. Both responses were utterly tone-deaf.

I’ve edited this write-up to now reflect the fact that I’m unsure if NYC is still under a state of emergency. According to the Mayor himself, he would’ve been empowered to cease the sale of liquor if/when the need arose. I’ve no clue what’s in the Mayor’s mind, although I can easily guess.

In related news, there’s this recent article concerning this very subject: Reconsider To-Go Booze Rules Amid Partying NYC Crowds, Pol Says

In addition, is this related press release from New York State Senator Brad Hoylman’s official page:

NEW YORK—This weekend, local news media captured disturbing images and videos of large groups of New Yorkers ignoring social distancing requirements outside bars and restaurants on St. Mark’s Place and other Manhattan locations.

Senator Brad Hoylman, who represents St. Mark’s Place in the State Senate, issued the following statement in response:

“New Yorkers are dying every day from COVID-19. It’s dangerous and irresponsible to abandon social distancing while the pandemic continues to rage.

“As the Senator who represents much of the heart of Manhattan, I know small businesses are hurting. But there’s no excuse for the large crowds we’ve seen congregating on St. Mark’s Place and elsewhere in Manhattan. In the middle of a pandemic, that’s putting lives at risk.

“A liquor license is a privilege that comes with a significant responsibility to protect the public interest. The State Liquor Authority (SLA) should immediately bring inspectors to Manhattan to assess the situation and work to enforce open container laws.

“If these violations of social distancing continue, Governor Cuomo should immediately reconsider his executive order permitting take-out and delivery alcohol service. As the Senate sponsor of legislation that would extend this executive order for two years, I’m reassessing whether to amend it to limit it to alcohol delivery only and ban to go sales, to have the legislation apply only outside New York City, or to withdraw the bill altogether. In doing so, I will continue working closely with Community Boards and local stakeholders to determine the best way forward.

“My bill was meant to be a lifeline for restaurants and bars facing extinction because of COVID-19, not an opportunity for these establishments to totally disregard open container laws and social distancing requirements. The failures of these establishments to follow the law will create a public health disaster, not to mention creating noise and quality of life issues.

“Restaurants and bars need to get their act together. Public health is too important to get this wrong.” 

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