New York City’s outdoor dining patrons who needed to relieve themselves were left out in the cold briefly by a state policy that forbade them from using a restaurant’s indoor bathroom.
On Thursday, the city, through the Office of the Counsel to the Mayor, issued a guidance FAQ to help restaurants understand Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s executive order shutting down indoor dining in the city this past Monday, as well as guidance from the State Liquor Authority (SLA) interpreting that order.
Among those FAQs was a question asking, “If my SLA-licensed establishment is offering outdoor dining, may I allow customers to use the bathroom inside?” The answer was an emphatic no. “No. Customers may not enter the inside of the establishment for any reason,” reads the document.
The same document also made clear that restaurant staff were not allowed to share meals together. Employees were barred from eating or drinking at bars, in dining rooms, or other areas of their workplace that are used by the public. (Better that they eat their shift meal in a crowded kitchen, I guess.)
This FAQ document and the underlying state guidance sparked fierce criticism from restaurant advocates.