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BY KEN GOLDBERG
New York City’s bars, taverns, clubs and
entertainment centers are suff ering another
crisis at this time. As COVID-19 has
returned to record rates, this has provoked
fear among consumers and patrons,
disrupting many entertainment and
In the past two weeks, many watering
holes and food locations have closed. It’s
a combination of customers being frightened
by COVID-19 and staying away;
many business or holiday parties being
canceled; and, for many businesses, not
being able to have adequate staff because
workers have either gotten sick, are taking
precautions or have become discouraged.
Government policymakers have lost
credibility with many of these aff ected
people because of confl icting information.
Yet the government needs to become
immediately proactive so many of these
small businesses are able to survive.
Government should now allow —
even encourage — bars, taverns, clubs
and entertainment centers to off er curbside
alcoholic beverages, including mixed
cocktails, and food. Th ese locations should
also be allowed to off er bottle service.
Th e NYS Liquor Authority must do
much more to boost business. For example,
anyone who reviews the authority’s
website together with the NYC website
about opening a bar, tavern or club will be
completely turned off by the diffi culty due
to many bureaucratic hurdles. Th is broken
system has to be transformed where
entrepreneurs and operators willing to risk
capital in opening an establishment are
embraced with effi cient help.
Most important, the NYS Liquor
Authority and law enforcement needs to
cease and desist with playing “gotcha” fi ning,
penalizing bars, taverns and clubs for
a variety of slight infractions. During the
fi rst COVID-19 crisis under Governor
Andrew Cuomo, these establishment owners
experienced a “reign of terror” with
all sorts of agency inspectors who wrote
summonses and even closed down places!
How did any of this support business
owners, who then would have to lay off
employees and halt paying their rent and
utilities, and even their taxes?
Instead of hurting responsible, decent
business owners, employees at these government
agencies should instead be prioritized
on safeguarding us against threats by
criminals, mentally ill and homeless who
pose a dangerous presence on our streets.
Truth be told, here’s what I am seeing
“on the street” every day: Many bars, taverns
and clubs are one step away from
going out of business because of COVID-
19’s latest economic blow.
Ken Goldberg is principal owner of
Emerson Amusement of Woodside and
president of the Amusement and Music
Owners Association of New York.
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