New York liquor stores deemed "essential" under Cuomo's statewide order

By Audrey McNamara

/ CBS News

N.Y. shuts down "non-essential" businesses

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo on Friday announced an executive order that mandates 100% of the state's workforce "must stay home, excluding essential services," until further notice. That order does not apply to liquor stores, the New York State Liquor Store Association clarified later Friday.

"Liquor stores have been deemed an essential business and may remain open," the association said in a press release. "You do not need to reduce your workforce. This applies to all SLA licensed entities as per the SLA."

Beverage manufacturing, including alcoholic beverages, is also considered an essential operation, and is included under the state's list of exemptions, according to the SLA.

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Other exemptions from the executive order include shipping, media, warehousing, grocery and food production, pharmacies, healthcare providers, utilities, banks and related financial institutions. "Bars and restaurants are closed, but takeout can be ordered during the period of closure," the governor's website said.

"New York state on pause: Policies that assure uniform safety for everyone," Cuomo said at a press conference Friday. "Only essential businesses can have workers commuting to the job or on the job."

California Governor Gavin Newsom issued an executive order Thursday directing all Californiaresidents to "stay home except for essential needs." The order shares similar restrictions to Cuomo's.

Newsom said "essential services" will remain open: Gas stations, pharmacies, grocery stores, farmers markets, food banks, convenience stores, take-out and delivery restaurants, banks, and laundromats or laundry services. Unlike in New York, in California liquor and wine can be sold in grocery stores.

The California Retailers Association said it is "not commenting at this time" on whether liquor stores in the state are also considered "essential services."

The Wine Institute, which advocates for wineries in California, said in a press release Thursday that it has confirmed with the governor's office that winery and vineyard operations are allowed to continue during the shelter in place order because they fall under "the Food and Agriculture Sector critical infrastructure plan."

"The federal government has identified 16 critical infrastructure sectors whose assets, systems, and networks, whether physical or virtual, are considered so vital to the United States that their incapacitation or destruction would have a debilitating effect on security, economic security, public health or safety, or any combination thereof," the governor's order states.

"I order that Californians working in these 16 critical infrastructure sectors may continue their work because of the importance of these sectors to California's health and well-being."

The Institute said it is working with the Governor to "reduce the exposure and spread of the disease by limiting visitor access to winery tasting rooms for purchase and pick up only, intensifying cleaning and sanitation procedures and following the guidance of the CDC and California Department of Health."

"Wineries are still open for operation at this time and wine may be purchased online from winery websites."

First published on March 20, 2020 / 4:48 PM

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