NYC Mayor Says On-Premise Shutdown Could Last ‘Months’; Bars and Restaurants Mandated Shutdown in at Least 20 States

The on-premise shutdown of bars and restaurants in New York City could last for “months” in an effort to stop the spread of the coronavirus disease COVID-19, New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio said during an interview with CNN this morning.

“It could get to that, for sure,” De Blasio said.

However, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said later that there are no plans to quarantine any city.

De Blasio said the shutdown of on-premise dining and drinking at bars and restaurants is likely to last for several months, and could even drag on into September.

The state of New York was one of at least 20 states, plus Washington, D.C., to mandate bars and restaurants close through at least the end of March. Some last even longer.

In the interim, most states are allowing takeout and delivery options. In New York, Connecticut and New Jersey, licensed establishments are allowed to sell alcoholic beverages to-go during the shutdown.

During an interview with CNN this morning, De Blasio said New York City could institute a similar “shelter in place” order to the one mandated in six Bay Area communities — San Francisco, Santa Clara, San Mateo, Marin, Contra Costa and Alameda counties — for up to three weeks through April 7, restricting non-essential travel but still allowing trips to receive medical attention or purchase groceries or medication. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the order affects 6.6 million people.

Similar orders are being considered in other major cities. Boston Mayor Marty Walsh told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer that he’s discussed a shelter in place order with Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker, who has previously said he was not considering such a mandate.

“At some point, potentially, we are headed that way,” Walsh said.

States to institute bans on on-premise dining and drinking include Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, and Washington, D.C. California Gov. Gavin Newsom asked bars and restaurants to close, but it was still unclear if that was an order.

Several cities and counties — including Kansas City, Missouri; Wyandotte and Johnson counties in Kansas; Nashville, Tennessee; Reno, Nevada; and Anchorage, Alaska — have instituted their own bans.

Pennsylvania has also shutdown liquor stores.

These lists are non-exhaustive and most certainly will change in the coming days and even hours.

How big is on-premise sales for the beer industry? National Beer Wholesaler Association chief economist Lester Jones told Brewbound that on-premise sales account for roughly 20% of the total beer volume.

“Craft is over indexed to on-premise, so they will take a disproportionate hit,” he added.

Brewers Association (BA) chief economist Bart Watson estimated that 40% of craft beer’s volume flows through the on-premise trade, while about 30% of all beer sold in on-premise accounts is craft.

John Dantzler, CEO of Torch & Crown Brewing Company in New York, tweeted Monday night that small businesses need effective policy during this crisis.

“We need action directly to small businesses, not stimulus that circuitously makes its way through our system — sometimes not at all (do banks respond to cheaper funding by lowering their rates, or do they capture more spread themselves?),” he wrote.

 

Julie Verratti, co-founder of Silver Spring, Maryland-based Denizens Brewing Company, encouraged consumers to reach out to lawmakers to institute “an immediate moratorium on all commercial debt payments, mortgages, and rents” and “an immediate moratorium on all personal debt payments, mortgages, and rents.”

“The time to take action is right now,” Verratti wrote.

Prior to the bans going into place, OpenTable chief operating officer Andrea Johnston sent a note to the restaurant reservation app’s users noting that there was a 20% reduction in total seated diners in the U.S. and the United Kingdom last week compared to the previous year. In cities across the country, the number of seated diners compared to last year declined, 45% in Seattle, 40% in San Francisco, 30% in New York and 255 in London, Los Angeles and Chicago.

Johnston encouraged OpenTable users to order take-out or delivery, re-book for future dates, buy gift cards and tip workers.

Restauranteur David Chang, who closed Momofuku restaurants in Los Angeles, New York and Washington, D.C., called on the government to help out the industry.

Delivery services such as Postmates and Uber Eats, as well as pizza chain Domino’s, have instituted non-contact deliveries. Many companies are reducing delivery fees or eliminating them altogether.

Uber Eats has also waived delivery fees on all orders from independent restaurants in the U.S. and Canada.

Guinness has pledged $500,000 through its Guinness Gives Back Fund to “help the communities where we live, work and celebrate.” And Jameson has also pledged $500,000 to support the United States Bartenders’ Guild, which has implemented a “Bartender Emergency Assistance Program.” Additionally, Jameson said it would match donations of up to $100,000 through March 31 made to the guild.

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