Seating Not Eating: Change Cuomo's Executive Order 202​.​52

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Inspired by the troubling viral photos and videos of businesses that have flouted public safety — White Horse Tavern in Manhattan, to name one of the most egregious — Governor Cuomo, on Thursday, July 16, handed down his latest set of rules mandating that bars and restaurants require their customers order food with their alcoholic beverages. In each of these outrageous instances, the establishments were ignoring social distancing and allowing crowds to gather, with an alarming number of customers standing.

The resulting mandate not only puts an onerous burden on bar owners, it has no bearing on safety or health. All super-spreader events have been about ventilation — or the lack thereof — and proximity, not what the people were ingesting. Rather than legislating what customers must order, I believe it would be safer and smarter to require customers be seated while consuming whatever they want. If no standing is allowed, the possibility of overcrowding is eliminated.

New York is fortunate that our capable leadership has managed to flatten the curve and make us among the top states in the nation in virus containment. Restaurant and bar owners celebrate that success and want to help ensure that our numbers remain low. We are aggressively invested in keeping our customers healthy. If we, as business owners, are able to maintain social distancing, with tables six feet apart, and require that all our customers be seated, we can easily help contain the spread of the virus. SEATING NOT EATING is a far more elegant solution. It also does not require additional staffing or other expenditures that place an additional burden on an industry that is already suffering severe financial hardship. What people consume on our premises isn’t the problem. HOW they are consuming does, and I believe they should be seated.

I ask that you sign this petition and share it with other bar and restaurant owners, your customers and your friends. Together we can convince Governor Cuomo to reverse this order and, instead, require that all customers be seated at all bars and restaurants. 

Abby Ehmann

Photo by Michelle Young of