Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that starting Thursday, all establishments including bars, restaurants, wineries, and breweries can only sell alcohol to people who are also ordering food.

“We’re getting thousands of complaints, pictures, and videos,” Gov. Cuomo said on a press call. “This is a question of public health and New Yorkers paid a dear price for COVID and they are equally upset with these violations.”

However, this announcement took many businesses owners by surprise, including the owner of Savoy Taproom and Copper Crow in Albany, Jason Pierce.

“As is often the case lately, I first was notified about this by someone who sent me an article online so my initial reaction was, ‘gosh, I wish someone had sent me an email or we had received some type of advisement in advance, so we could properly prepare,’ ” Pierce explained.

Gov. Cuomo says the new restrictions come after numerous reports of bars and restaurants failing to comply with social distancing protocols, especially downstate.

People will also only be served if they are seated at a table. This was an already existing guidance, but many areas were allowing people to order drinks at the bar and enjoy them standing outside.

“We did not approve outdoor bars, where you set up tables for people to place drinks and then you have a hundred people mingling outside in a block party format,” Cuomo said. “That’s not what we approved.”

Yet the announcement came on the same day the new rules are set to go into place.  

Pierce says he understands this is a fluid situation and something he will comply with to keep his establishments open, but this is not the first time these small business owners have had to quickly shift businesses models with no advance warning.

“If we could figure out a more a streamlined, effective, and efficient system that allows us to put these rules in place through proper notifications and ability for people to know exactly how to follow them and implement them properly, that would only benefit everybody,” Pierce said.