TOMPKINS COUNTY, N.Y.—People interested in imbibing alcoholic beverages at one of many fine local establishments will no longer have to obstruct their gullets with unnecessary foodstuff, after the New York State legislature repealed Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s requirement for bar patrons to receive food with their drinks. Additionally, Cuomo announced that bar curfews will end in full on May 31.

The requirement was implemented when bars were allowed to re-open over the summer, though the logic behind it was never quite thoroughly explained. Rumors have persisted that it has forced certain Ithaca establishments to remain closed throughout the duration of the pandemic, particularly those that didn’t have their own kitchen infrastructure in-house when the world shut down last March. Other places, like Da Westy and briefly the Chanticleer, among others, relied on food provisions through deals with nearby restaurants.

Cuomo’s administration had signaled support for the repeal, considering the declining status of the COVID-19 pandemic in New York and increasing vaccination rates statewide.

The food requirement had long been deemed arbitrary by everyone from state lawmakers to bar owners to bar customers. The snick-snacks that bars picked up to fulfill their food requirement were commonly derided as “Cuomo Chips” for the additional burden it put on bar owners.

As for the curfew, which was recently moved to 12 a.m., it will end entirely for outdoor dining on May 17 and for indoor dining on May 31.

Matt Butler

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