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Bars Get Creative to Avoid NY's Food With Alcohol Rule But ‘Cuomo Chips' Aren't Enough, Gov. Says

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If you want to drink outdoors in New York, you're going to do it with more than just a side of "Cuomo chips," the governor says.

Bars around the state have gotten creative in trying to avoid complying with Gov. Andrew Cuomo's new rules that mandate alcohol to be served with food. From chips named after the governor to $1 dollar menus that include a handful of croutons, Cuomo says they don't count as "substantial" food items.

Handshakes Bar and Grill in the Hudson Valley said it created a new menu, Cuomo's Unnecessary Obligated Menu Options, due to new regulations. The diner already serves real food like burgers and pasta dishes but the new menu poked fun at Cuomo's rules by allowing customers to order two pieces of onion rings for a dollar.

"How did I get associated with chips, I don't know," the governor said Thursday as he laughed. "There's nothing wrong with Cuomo chips, I enjoy them. But they do not suffice in the existing law as a 'bar serving food.'"

The law states that foods that should be served with alcohol are sandwiches, soups or other such foods. The other such foods have to be "similar in quality and substance" which doesn't include a bag of chips, a bowl of nuts or candy.

Desserts do count as those other foods but only if they're a piece of cake/pie, an ice cream sundae, etc. "It should not be only a drink with whip cream, a cookie, a piece of candy," the guidance said.

The record-breaking surges of the coronavirus around the country have led to tighter restrictions in New York because Cuomo said he is concerned about more cases in his state. Slipping compliance on the mask and social distancing fronts have been spotted at bars around the state, especially in New York City.

People congregating on sidewalks without facial coverings and repeatedly failing to abide by state guidelines to such a degree that Cuomo has threatened to shut them down again.

Since March, the state has suspended 27 liquor licenses and brought 410 charges against various establishments for not following the guidelines.

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