It has a certain Prohibition-era ring to it, but Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s order that alcohol-consuming patrons at restaurant bars must also buy food with their beverages is meant to prevent a resurgence of the coronavirus in New York.

The state will also close New York City bars and restaurants after three violations of COVID-19 orders under the governor’s Three Strikes and You’re Closed initiative. Egregious violations can result in the immediate closure or loss of a liquor license before a third offense.

Sadly, none of this would be necessary if all New Yorkers would just wear face masks and practice social distancing.

The new rules follow thousands of complaints to the governor’s office, including photos and video footage, of New Yorkers not complying with mandated social distancing and not wearing face masks in public. Officials studied 5,000 downstate establishments and found numerous instances where people failed to comply with state orders.

Officials continue to struggle with scores of people, most without face masks, gathering and mingling at outdoor bars in what is known as a block party. Another problem: Shoppers are often seen in grocery stores and other retailers, big and small, not wearing face masks, despite posted warnings on the doors of these establishments clearly stating that no one without a mask will be admitted.

Yet maskless patrons are being admitted, which exposes businesses unable or unwilling to enforce their own rules.

This isn’t rocket science. Wearing face masks is essential to beating back the coronavirus. Enforcement of the rules and regulations is essential to preventing another disastrous shutdown of the economy. If we don’t cooperate and if we don’t enforce compliance, the virus will spread. It’s that simple.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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