A new executive order is expected to streamline outdoor dining and drinking in Dutchess County.

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Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro says he pushed hard to allow restaurants to reopen sooner because the period between Memorial Day and Labor Day is vital for restaurant operations.

On Wednesday, in a somewhat surprising move, Gov Andrew Cuomo Cuomo said outdoor dining and drinking are now allowed in Phase 2 instead of Phase 3. Tables must be placed at least six-feet apart and that staff as well as customers must wear face coverings when not seated.

“This is big news for our local restaurants after weeks of pushing the State to give these local businesses a real chance at survival – particularly during the critical summer dining season. We’re grateful to the State, and particularly Chairman Bradley and the State Liquor Authority for this accommodation.” Molinaro said. “With Phase II just around the corner for the Mid-Hudson Region, restaurants and local municipalities have the opportunity to get prepped now and be ready to welcome customers next week as soon as we get the Phase II green light.”

On Thursday, Cuomo said the Mid-Hudson Region will enter Phase 2 of the four-phased reopening plan on Tuesday, June 9.

To expedite this process, Molinaro will issue an executive order waiving local regulations and requirements that could cause a potential burden or delay for local establishments to expand the outdoor dining space. The executive order will also aid in the local efforts to provide access to municipal-owned land. Molinaro is also strongly encouraging other local leaders to help local restaurant owners in taking advantage of this opportunity.

“Now more than ever before, we need to think creatively and be willing to push beyond normal operating procedures to give our local businesses a real chance at survival. These business owners have sacrificed a great deal, closing down or severely restricting their operations, to keep our community healthy and safe. We must be willing to think creatively to help return them to vitality and bring our Main Streets back to life,” Molinaro said.

Under the new guidance, the New York State Liquor Authority is allowing outdoor, on-premises service of alcoholic beverages and food to resume. The new SLA guidance also allows for the expansion of premises, under the current establishment’s license, where food and beverages may be consumed. This includes municipal-owned land like sidewalks and streets adjacent to a licensed establishment in coordination with the local municipality, officials say.

Once a region is in Phase II, restaurants can offer outdoor dining under the following guidance:

  • Food and/or beverage must be consumed in outdoor, open-air areas, without a fixed roof (besides a temporary or seasonal awning or cover).
  • Food and/or beverage must be consumed while seated at a table, bar, counter, or similar contrivance.
  • All tables must be 6 feet apart; any seat at bar, counter, or similar must be 6 feet apart.
  • All staff of the licensed business must wear face masks at all times.
  • All customers must wear face masks at any time they are not seated.
  • Any consumption shall be subject to all other relevant executive orders.

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