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Friday, 24 July 2020

WHAT IS A ‘MEAL’? The New Rules For Bars And Restaurants In CA, NY Are Unbelievable

The Democratic governors of California and New York have set out new rules for restaurants in their states, many of which are struggling amid the continued pandemic panic.
Restaurants have been allowed to operate — with outside diners only — and are able to sell alcohol as long as they also serve food. Now, the two states are defining what constitutes a “meal.”
“California says chicken wings, cheese sticks, fried calamari and french fries are not considered meals as it cracks down on outdoor restaurants that are offering drinks without food as the state battles a surge in COVID-19 cases,” The Daily Mail reports.
The state’s Alcoholic Beverage Control agency has issued guidelines on what constitutes as a “meal” after Gov. Gavin Newsom reversed reopening measures last month by ordering all bars to shut, The Mail said.
Here’s what the guidelines say for California:
It is often easier to describe what does not constitute a bona fide meal. In that regard, while the statute excludes mere offerings of sandwiches and salad, the Department does recognize that many sandwiches and salads are substantial and can constitute legitimate meals. Once again, the Department looks at the totality of circumstances and generally considers that pre-packaged sandwiches and salads would not typically meet this standard. In addition, the Department will presume that the following, and offerings similar to them, do not meet the meal requirement:
  • Snacks such as pretzels, nuts, popcorn, pickles, and chips
  • Food ordinarily served as appetizers or first courses such as cheese sticks, fried calamari, chicken wings, pizza bites (as opposed to a pizza), egg rolls, pot stickers, flautas, cups of soup, and any small portion of a dish that may constitute a main course when it is not served in a full portion or when it is intended for sharing in small portions
  • Side dishes such as bread, rolls, French fries, onion rings, small salads (green, potato, macaroni, fruit), rice, mashed potatoes, and small portions of vegetables
  • Reheated refrigerated or frozen entrees
  • Desserts
Gov. Andrew Cuomo has also redefined what constitutes a “meal.”
“Cuomo tightened the rules to force bars and restaurants to serve food with drinks, in an apparent attempt to circumvent the social distancing problems. The bars responded with $1 or 50-cent menus, offering items like ‘Cuomo chips’ in a bowl or peanuts to meet the new rules but still draw in customers,” said The Mail. “Now, the governor is clamping down on them again and ordering that they have to serve  a ‘substantial’ amount of food to people to be able to stay open.”

Restaurants are confused. “The ever changing rules and lack of clarity is creating enormous challenges and concerns for small business owners who are in a crisis,” Andrew Rigie, Executive Director of the NYC Hospitality Alliance, told DailyMail.com.

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