The 10 PM Curfew For NYC Bars and Restaurants And Private Gathering Limits

On November 13th, a 10PM curfew goes into effect for establishments with a liquor license including bars and restaurants. And a limit on private gatherings!

Ready for another nail in the coffin for nightlife in NYC?

NY Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced on Twitter that a 10 PM curfew will go into effect on November 13th for any establishments with a liquor license. That means bars, restaurants, lounges, or nightclubs that serve alcohol must have last call and close by 10 PM!

Oh, and if the lines weren’t already long enough, that curfew includes gyms.

The Cause For the New Curfew

This new curfew is in response to the recent spike in COVID-19 cases in NYC. And it effectively rolls back the 12am indoor dining curfew and 11 pm outdoor dining curfew that New Yorkers were enjoying after entering Phase 4 of reopening.

Daily Cases Hospitalizations and Deaths from COVID-19 11-11-20 Causing The NYC 10PM Curfew
Data from NYC.GOV

Limits on Indoor Gatherings at Private Residences

But wait, there’s more! The big kick in the pants accompanied this notice when Governor Cuomo also announced to limit indoor gatherings at private residences to 10 people.

Perhaps this is an effort to get ahead of the rising concerns around underground parties.

I’m really curious to see how this will be pulled off without undermining people’s rights. You know, like that pesky Fourth Amendment of the Constitution!

Does this mean that officers will be out knocking on doors, and can inspect your home if they suspect that you’re having a party?

Can you now be prosecuted for having a family gathering with over 10 people in your own private residence? What does that mean for Thanksgiving dinner or Christmas Eve with our families?

How do they plan to enforce this in a way that doesn’t discriminate? Will police be banging on doors in rich neighborhoods to break up parties just as much as in poor neighborhoods?

This is starting to tread on thin ice now. Taking away people’s right to be with close friends and family removes one of the few remaining social joys that we have left.

With so many people already abandoning NYC, this could be another reason to re-evaluate staying.

Impacts of The Curfew on Upcoming Holidays and Virtual Events

If there was still any hope for watching the ball drop in Times Square, this new curfew put an end to that. If things don’t get any better over the next month or two, bars or clubs have no hope for the crowds or big profits that come with end of year New Years Eve parties when the last call is 10pm!

So you can expect that most major events will be cancelled or go virtual. Which seems to be the way some organizers are going.

Will Heavier Regulations On Nightlife Have A Paradoxical Effect?

Clipping back on legit establishments, that will actually put social distancing and other health and safety precautions in place since they have more to lose (like their liquor licenses), may actually have the opposite of the intended effect. It may instead be driving more people to underground parties, which continue to flourish under these restrictions.

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So I dare to say that heavier regulation on nightlife may only serve to make the problem worst. Consider what happened during the prohibition of the 1920’s that gave birth to the mafia. Have we learned nothing from history?

Just take a look at all of the underground parties that popped up for Halloween night. Despite the city police task forces that were roaming the streets, making fake profiles on social media, and busting underground party organizers for violations!

Stopping people from going to places that ARE following CDC guidelines isn’t going to make them not want to socialize. It may just redirect them to find places that don’t enforce those essential rules during this pandemic.

Nevertheless, with this new curfew we can expect for businesses to miss out big on the traditionally celebratory holidays like Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years Eve. But whatever we can do to slow down the pandemic, we must. As long as it is within reason and effective.

The only silver lining we have is that there is a vaccine candidate from Pfizer, as well as other companies, on the horizon.

Let’s see if we can cheers to a better 2021 and just get this year over with. So far, 2020 has been a big disappointment on so many levels.

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