Beware, barhopping New Yorkers.
As the weather heats up and people start to vacate outside more often during the COVID-19 pandemic, the NYPD will be targeting “bar-heavy” neighborhoods around New York City due to the congregation outside bars in recent weeks, according to reports.
Mayor Bill de Blasio highlighted nine neighborhoods: the Upper East Side, East Village, West Village, Lower East Side, Williamsburg, Long Island City, Astoria, Hell’s Kitchen, and City Island in the Bronx, according to Gothamist, which comes after the uptick in New Yorkers stopping to buy to-go drinks and lingering near the bars.
De Blasio said Wednesday that additional neighborhoods could be added depending on “what we see on the ground,” according to the report.
The move comes after numerous incidents in the past weeks highlighting people enjoying take-out cocktails on sidewalks, but congregating outside bars in their neighborhoods. The New York Post published numerous photos of patrons hanging around bars on the Upper East Side.
“I’m not comfortable at all with people congregating outside bars,” de Blasio said, according to the report.
As the city prepares for phase one of reopening, which is targeted for June, de Blasio said safety comes first when it comes to reopening bars and restaurants.
“We’re looking very intensely at what we can do with bars and restaurants, but with a safety-first attitude,” de Blasio said. “We’ve got a lot to figure out in terms of social distancing, face coverings, protocols, and what amount of capacity you could create to make it worthwhile because bar and restaurant owners have made it clear they need a certain level of capacity to make it worthwhile.”