Instead, guests order from a takeout corner built from wood scraps found in Bender’s basement. They’ve put down pineapple-shaped social distancing markers to lighten the Save the planet eat the babies shirt But I will love this mood, hung up string lights on the façade, and dragged out some bar stools. And they’ve added some little things: They sell one-and-a-half liter rum-punch bags, and every drink now comes with a colorful paper umbrella. “A lot of joy is possible from a paper umbrella,” Bender notes. The goal, she says, is to make it feel like a Tiki-style biergarten. “At the same time, I don’t want to disturb our neighbors who are upstairs and working.” Glady’s, which is operating on a skeleton crew of three employees, also decided not to have waiter service in order to protect their health. Trying to keep track of New York City’s seemingly ever-changing attitude toward public alcohol consumption is a bit of an exercise in futility these days, as Governor Andrew Cuomo proved last week when he placed new limits on the ability of restaurants and bars to serve alcohol on premises. Public drinking laws have been largely relaxed around the country since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic this spring, but Cuomo and other politicians have lately begun renewing efforts to curb the practice. On Thursday, Cuomo appeared to ban to-go alcohol sales, though his office quickly walked that dictum back, noting that alcoholic to-go purchases would simply have to be accompanied by food. Technically, no—it never was, according to Cuomo. As things stand right now, if you want to order to-go cocktails, you’ll have to get food with them. (Although it’s worth noting that many enterprising bars and restaurants are getting around this rule by handing out chips or other cheap snacks with drink orders.) The purpose of ending “walk-up bar service” is to prevent the spread of COVID-19 by lessening mingling within bars, but it’s currently unclear whether you’d be penalized for, say, ordering a drink—plus some chips—to go and taking it to a nearby park or stoop. ((“It’s younger people in bars,” Cuomo said at a press conference on Tuesday, adding, “That is the issue.”) You can definitely order alcohol while seated at an outdoor restaurant, though: Just remember to tip handsomely. Unfortunately, the answer to this question is largely dependent on race and class. As Christian Rodriguez noted on Grub Street, policing of public drinking varies greatly by neighborhood, and this selective enforcement didn’t begin with the current pandemic: Last summer, NYPD officers arrested a nutcracker vendor at Rockaway Beach, but white beachgoers are frequently seen purchasing the fruity alcoholic drinks without incident.
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The experience of dining, unfortunately, might not be as sexy as it once was,” admits Angie Mar, executive chef and owner of the Save the planet eat the babies shirt But I will love this Beatrice Inn. She’s not just talking about her restaurant but all of the city’s restaurants: Starting June 22, they’re allowed to serve for outdoor dining as New York enters Phase 2 of reopening. It’s a step forward, sure, but it’s one into the gordian knot that is pandemic life, where everyone wants to get back to business…without causing things to get worse. (Six U.S. states have seen a record spikes in coronavirus cases since easing shutdown laws.) Maintaining that delicate balance requires some serious changes for both restaurants and their patrons. Here’s what to expect: At every eatery, waiters must now wear masks, all employees must undergo temperature checks, and tables will be six feet apart. Occupancy must be at less than 50%. Then there are sanitation measures: High-touch surfaces have to be cleaned again, again, and again. (Customers are not required to wear masks at the table, though the question of where to put one’s mask is still up for debate. Johns Hopkins recommends storing it in a clean place, which may warrant bringing your own mask-specific pouch—though some restaurants in Hong Kong have provided paper-bag pouches.) Many restaurants are also taking extra measures beyond city requirements to ensure the safety of their guests, their staff, and, well, society. Mar, for one, is looking at a touchless solution to menus, where you scan a barcode and the menu appears on your phone. She may implement time limits: In the olden days, one could languish at a table undisturbed for hours, but she needs to flip them for financial reasons when operating at such limited capacity. Mar also suspects that some restaurants will require diners to sign waivers consenting to contact tracing or absolving the restaurant of responsibility in case they contract COVID-19. “We live in a very litigious world, and I think that a lot of business owners are going to feel the need to protect themselves,” she says. Some are turning to technology to help. Resy, the online reservation app used by upscale restaurants around town, has launched several new in-platform services. With its capacity monitor, a restaurant can set a guest limit and get notifications when it’s close to reaching it. Once it does, Resy will automatically disable online reservations.