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Q & A Regarding Outdoor Dining


Q: I understand that food and/or drink cannot be consumed under a fixed roof, and that I can only serve in open-air areas or under an awning or other temporary structure. What constitutes a fixed roof for this purpose?

A: A fixed roof for these purposes is any overhead structure covering an outdoor seating area that would not reasonably be viewed as temporary. This standard is from the Department of Health’s interim guidance for outdoor food service and can be found here. Any questions on the standard can be directed to the Department of Health

Q: Can food and/drink be consumed while standing?

A: No, all consumption must be while seated at tables, bars, counters, or similar contrivances.

Q: Are these outdoor guidelines limited to restaurants? 

A: No, all licensed on-premises establishments (e.g. restaurants, bars, taverns, clubs, cafes, manufacturers with on-premises privileges, etc.) in Phase 2 regions may, subject to the guidance above, resume outdoor, on-premises service of alcoholic beverages and/or food.

Q: Can food and/or drink be consumed on a golf course?

A: Only as provided in the Guidance, e.g., outdoors, by patrons seated at tables, 6 feet apart, etc.

Q: Can a patron consume an alcoholic beverage on premises under this guidance without purchasing food?

A: Yes, as your on-premises service privileges require that you make food available, but do not require that food be purchased. 

Q: Can I conduct tastings?

A: A tasting is an on-premises service that must comply with all the rules in this Guidance and any other relevant guidance on food/drink service.

Q: Can I have live entertainment or a DJ in my outdoor dining area?

A: The Executive Order on outdoor service does not provide licensees with additional outdoor music privileges of any kind, and the PAUSE Act generally prohibits live music (and DJs) at Stage 2 of reopening as well.  If your existing license permits a type of outdoor music (for example, recorded music), you are permitted to conform to as long as it does not conflict with any municipal ordinance.   Where in conflict, the municipal ordinance shall govern.  And if a licensee wants to add outdoor music privileges to their license, they must apply to the SLA to add such privileges and wait until such application is approved.

Q: Where can I find DOH and other additional guidelines on reopening?

The DOH guidance on outdoor dining can be found here. Other relevant documents can be found, among other places, on the Governor’s New York Forward page here, and Empire State Development’s COVID resource page found here.

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