NYC cracking down on crowds drinking outside bars w/ “Take Out, Don’t Hang Out” campaign
When NYC went on pandemic lockdown back in March, the city began allowing bars and restaurants to sell booze to go. While the idea may have been for customers to take their drinks and consume them at home, many establishments have become de facto outdoor bars, with people hanging out, drinking from to-go cups on the sidewalk outside the bars.
If you were in NYC and went outside this past Memorial Day Weekend, you probably saw it in action, perhaps with a crowd that wasn't exactly observing best social distancing practices. Right before the holiday, The Mayor's office announced a new social distancing campaign -- called "Take Out, Don't Hang Out" -- that focuses on nine “bar-heavy” neighborhoods in the Five Boroughs: Williamsburg, the East Village, the West Village, the Lower East Side, Hell’s Kitchen, the Upper East Side, Long Island City, Astoria, and The Bronx's City Island.
“We did not want to see people try and create de facto outdoor seating or de facto parties,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a press conference announcing the campaign. “In places where we’ve had some problems, you will see the presence of the police department and other agencies just going around to bars and restaurants, checking in on any place we had a problem."
NYC still hasn't announced a full plan for reopening but there has been a lot of support for increased outdoor dining, especially with the city's "open streets" plan that has made miles of city streets off-limits to cars.. Via Eater, De Blasio said in a press conference today that while it is a "very encouraging possibility," outdoor dining won't be part of phase one of NYC's reopening, which will happen in the first or second week of June with manufacturing and construction industries being the first to reopen.