May 28, 2020 By Allie Griffin
The city is sending more police officers to patrol the bars and restaurants in Astoria and Long Island City to enforce social distancing.
The mayor said that the two neighborhoods are among nine “bar-heavy” districts across the five boroughs that will see more cops.
Last week Mayor Bill de Blasio vowed to crack down on bars on the Upper East Side, where crowds were seen forming on sidewalks outside bars as patrons got refills on their to-go drinks. He announced today that the NYPD is expanding its area of focus.
Officers are being tasked with breaking up any de-facto sidewalk parties formed by residents picking up to-go cocktails and food outside bars.
“We’re not going to tolerate people starting to congregate. It’s as simple as that,” de Blasio said.
Today, the mayor identified the “bar-heavy” areas where officers from the NYPD and Sheriff’s Office will target to prevent gatherings.
The list of targeted neighborhoods– in addition to Astoria and Long Island City–include the East Village, West Village, Lower East Side, Williamsburg, Hell’s Kitchen and City Island.
De Blasio said the city won’t allow New Yorkers to create “de-facto outdoor seating or de facto parties” outside bars.
“The idea is if you go to a restaurant, a bar, it’s for takeout — keep moving,” de Blasio said Friday. “We’re not doing congregating, we’re not doing gatherings.”
The city’s Office of Nightlife is also working with bars and restaurants, advising them of the rules.
The office has provided guidelines for bars and restaurants. The office prohibits these establishments from putting out tables, chairs or benches outside the storefronts for customer use.
New York City’s open container law also prohibits people from drinking alcohol in public places like city sidewalks and parks.
“The message is as simple as it could be — take out, don’t hang out,” de Blasio said Friday.