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Recent New York State Liquor A...

Recent New York State Liquor Authority (“SLA”) guidelines.

  • June 10, 2020

Please make sure to check our Website regularly for all updates to help ensure that your establishment stays in good standing with the NYSLA.

RECENT UPDATE: Effective Friday July 17, 2020, all licensed establishments with on premises privileges (e.g. restaurants, taverns, manufacturers with tasting rooms, etc.) shall not serve alcoholic beverages unless such alcoholic beverage is accompanied by the purchase of a food item which is consistent with the food availability requirement of the license under the Alcoholic Beverage Control Law.   This guidance supersedes and therefore modifies the Authority’s “Guidance on Restrictions for Licensees and To-Go & Delivery Sales in Response to COVID-19 Outbreak”.  More information is here.

Starting on June 9, 2020, restaurants, bars and other hospitality businesses throughout Dutchess County may use outdoor space in order to reopen for on-premises service of food and beverage.  Whether you currently have a patio or other area for outdoor seating as part of your liquor licensed premises, or you are expanding your premises to temporarily or permanently include an outdoor space, there are options that may allow you to be up and running for business.

The New York State Liquor Authority (“SLA”) has set forth the following guidelines:


  • Any consumption of food and/or beverage must happen in outdoor, open-air areas without a fixed roof (besides a temporary or seasonal awning or cover).
  • Any consumption of food and/or beverage must happen while seated at a table, bar, counter, or similar contrivance.
  • All tables must be 6 feet apart.  Any seat at a bar, counter, or similar contrivance must be 6 feet apart.
  • All staff of the licensed business must wear face masks at all times.
  • All customers must wear face masks at any time they are not seated.
  • Any consumption shall be subject to all other relevant executive orders, guidance promulgated by the Department of Health, and/or any other relevant agency guidance.

Expansions of Premises:

For businesses that do not currently have an open-air patio or other outdoor area, the SLA has provided a mechanism whereby establishments may temporarily expand their licensed premises to include outdoor areas.  Specifically, a business that currently has an on-premises liquor license may expand their operations to use any contiguous outdoor, open-air part of their existing premises for the service of food and beverages.  The area must be controlled by the licensee via a deed, lease, management agreement, or sidewalk permit and the licensee must submit an updated diagram of the outdoor space to the SLA within five business days of the date it begins using the expanded space.   Licensees can move any currently licensed point of sale (e.g.  a bar) outdoors as long as the point of sale is depicted on their submitted diagram.  Adding additional points of sale beyond what is authorized by your existing license is not permitted without having an approved application to the SLA for an additional bar license. 

Just in time for the warm weather, establishments are quickly finding ways to re-open under this guidance by buying or renting furniture, tents, umbrellas, outdoor bathrooms, etc., to comfortably, and safely bring the dining experience outdoors. “We were thrilled to be able to stop by our favorite restaurant while we were out for a walk, especially after being inside for so long,” says Michael Justice from Beacon, NY.  Some municipalities, such as Beacon, are making municipally owned lands (e.g. sidewalks, streets, etc.) available to licensees for service of food and beverages.  In instances where a municipal property is besides, rather than immediately adjacent to a licensed premises, a municipality that wishes to permit outdoor dining in that area must submit a Municipal Extension to the SLA before any expansion will be permitted. More details are also available here.

The temporary expansion procedures are exactly that – temporary – and the SLA will, presumably, rescind ability to operate in these temporary areas at some point in the future.  If a business is seeking to expand into an outdoor area permanently, other approvals must be obtained.  “Some of our clients have decided to make more permanent renovations in which case a formal alteration application to the SLA is needed,” explains Jessica Glass, a liquor license attorney with Stenger, Glass, Hagstrom, Lindars & Iuele LLP.

Join us on June 12 @ 8am for a Dutchess County Regional Chamber of Commerce webinar where Jessica will discuss the Guidance on Liquor Licenses during Phase two. Register here.

If you need assistance reviewing the SLA’s Guidance and finding a solution that works best for your establishment in order to reopen for business, please contact Jessica Glass at our office today. Find out more about our Liquor License practice here.

Access the archived seminar here.
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