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Our attorneys stay on top of changes in legislation, agency regulations, case law, and industry trends—then craft timely legal alerts to keep clients up to date on legal developments important to their business.

April 5, 2021

More Good News for Local Restaurants and Entertainment Establishments

Consistent with efforts undertaken in neighboring Massachusetts and Connecticut, New York State has taken further steps toward easing restrictions on the hospitality and entertainment industry. Starting April 2, 2021, in-person, catered events can host 201 to 500 people outdoors with testing and notification to the local health department.  In Massachusetts, gathering limits for event venues and in public settings is now 100 people indoors and 150 people outdoors. Dance floors are also permitted at weddings.   In Connecticut, capacity limits are now up to 100% subject to social distancing requirements.  The owner/operator can, however, choose to operate below full capacity if they wish.

In addition, live entertainment can return in New York, which includes comedy shows and karaoke. Restaurants and other on-premises food and beverage establishments licensed through the State Liquor Authority (SLA) are now allowed to offer on-premises music if their license certificate specifically allows for such activity. If offering live entertainment, whether indoors or out, all relevant aspects of the Department of Health guidance must be followed, including that patrons should remain seated except for necessary reasons, and standing patrons should wear face coverings. Additionally, performers should be at least 12 feet from patrons. More detailed guidance from the SLA is forthcoming.  Massachusetts restaurants may also host musical performances, providing they are solely instrumental.  Singing is still prohibited.  Social distancing, limits of six people per table and 90 minute limits also remain in place.  Connecticut restaurants are also permitted to hold musical performances but 12-feet spacing is required from the nearest person dining or working and patrons/employees are encouraged to obtain a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours prior to the performance.

These relaxed restrictions, combined with the Small Business Administration’s plan to release rules and applications for the $28.6 billion Restaurant Revitalization Fund (see our March 17 alert on the RRF), are more good news for restaurants and entertainment establishments.

Barclay Damon’s Hotels, Hospitality & Food Service Team will provide more information about the SLA guidance for live entertainment and the SBA guidance for RRF loans once it’s released.

If you have any questions regarding the content of this alert, please contact Samantha Podlas, associate, at spodlas@barclaydamon.com; Heather Sunser, partner, at hsunser@barclaydamon.com; or another member of the firm’s Hotels, Hospitality & Food Service Team.

We also have a specific team of Barclay Damon attorneys who are actively working on assessing regulatory, legislative, and other governmental updates related to COVID-19 and who are prepared to assist clients. Please contact Yvonne Hennessey, COVID-19 Response Team leader, at yhennessey@barclaydamon.com or any member of the COVID-19 Response Team at COVID-19ResponseTeam@barclaydamon.com.

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