Restaurants and bars in New York could once again close unless local governments more aggressively enforce guidelines for mask wearing and social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday.
"We will have to roll back the bar and restaurant opening if the congregating continues," he said.
The warning comes as New York's coronavirus cases have remained largely flat over the last several weeks. Test results of more than 49,000 people in the last day found an infection rate of 1.05 percent. Eight people have died of COVID-19 in the last 24 hours.
But Cuomo warned gatherings of people, primarily in New York City, could make those numbers rise as they have in most other states in the country.
"Don't be stupid," Cuomo said of mass gatherings during a news conference. "It's good advice in life."
Cuomo once again insisted it's up to local governments to enforce the rules.
"The State Liquor Authority does not have enough investigators to cover the entire state," he added.
The Cuomo administration last week moved to limit the number of people at bars by requiring them to serve food, an order that led to some bars offering chips and snacks for $1 as a workaround.
And enforcement may prove difficult.
In Queens, an Astoria restaurant defied an order by New York City officials to end outdoor dining after throwing massive parties.
Indoor dining is not allowed in New York City, but has gone forward elsewhere in the state.
Cuomo is traveling to Savannah, Ga., today to hand out personal protective equipment and help the city with testing and tracing. Cuomo said the trip was a way of saying thank you for help New York received during the pandemic in March and April, when cases soared.
"We're doing everything now to pay it back," Cuomo said.
Cuomo is considered an essential worker and is not required to submit to a 14-day quarantine now in place for those who travel into New York from states with high COVID-19 infection rates, which includes Georgia. The quarantine also is not required for people who spend fewer than 24 hours in a state with a high infection rate, either.
Cuomo has no plans to quarantine himself, but will take a coronavirus test upon his return to New York.