TOMPKINS COUNTY, N.Y. –– Bars and restaurants must close their doors to customers at 10 p.m., according to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo in a slew of new statewide COVID-19 restrictions announced Wednesday. ​​

The restriction applies to any establishment in New York with a liquor license through the State Liquor Authority. Restaurants may serve customers after 10 p.m., but only via curbside pick-up, and Cuomo said only food can be served after 10 p.m. The restriction will begin this Friday, Nov. 13.

As part of the new mandates gyms must also close at 10 p.m. and private gatherings are now limited to 10 people, a steep decrease from the 50-person limit that had been in place and potentially impacting holiday plans as Thanksgiving approaches later this month. ​​​​​​​​The new rules come as infection rates ascend again across New York State and around the country. Cuomo said the move addresses events and places that the state claims are the primary reasons for infection increases.

“If you look at where the cases are coming from, you’ll see they’re coming from three main areas,” Cuomo said. “Bars and restaurants are one of the identified spreaders (…) States surrounding us have done something that I think is intelligent, and we’re going to follow suit. I try to keep symmetry with the surrounding states whenever possible (…) No more than 10 in a private residence for a party. Bars and restaurants, gyms, house parties, that’s where it’s coming from specifically.”

The new restrictions come at a time when active cases in and around Tompkins County remain relatively low –– Cuomo announced during his press conference that nearby Steuben County, which had been a yellow zone, will have that label removed after its infection rates decreased and Tompkins remains in the green. ​However, Waverly, in Tioga County, has now been named a yellow zone. (Information on zone classifications can be found here)

Matt Butler

Matt Butler is the Education & Public Health Reporter at the Ithaca Voice. He can be reached by email at mbutler@ithacavoice.com