Three Strikes and You’re Closed Initiative

Mid-July, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the launch of the “Three Strikes and You’re Closed” Initiative in New York City in response to widespread noncompliance of the State’s COVID-19 Guidelines for restaurants and bars. The Initiative, which will be enforced by the State Liquor Authority (SLA) and local authorities, states that any NYC establishment that receives three violations will be closed for business. Businesses may also be ordered to close before meeting a third strikes for “egregious violations.” Lastly, the initiative says that “any establishment facing disciplinary charges by the SLA will have its name and location posted publicly and updated on a weekly basis.” The Governor has said that, if the State receives reports of noncompliance in other regions of the State, this initiative will be extended to those regions immediately.

During the same press conference, the Governor also announced new regulations for bars and restaurants statewide to ensure compliance with social distancing and face mask orders. The new regulations include that all service at bar tops must be limited only to patrons who are seated and socially distanced by six feet or separated by physical barriers, and that restaurants and bars can only serve alcohol to people who are also eating food. After much confusion after an upstate bar began selling “Cuomo chips” in an effort to comply with the food order, the SLA issued guidance which stated that bags of chips or nuts do not meet the requirement, but that “sandwiches, soups or other foods, whether fresh, processed, precooked or frozen” do.

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the SLA has brought 443 violations against various establishments for non-compliance, 105 of which were brought this past weekend. The SLA has also ordered 33 Emergency Orders of Suspension, which immediately closed businesses for non-compliance. If you have any questions regarding whether your establishment is in full compliance with the State’s guidelines, you may call Theresa Russo or Maston Sansom at 518-407-5800, or you may email them at and