In a commentary on Saturday, August 23, JazzBuffalo joined a chorus of other news media, venue owners, and musicians unsettled about a clarification on guidelines by the New York State Liquor Authority. As first reported by Syracuse.com, the SLA issued this initial statement of clarification:
“Please note that only incidental music is permissible at this time. This means that advertised and/or ticketed shows are not permissible. Music should be incidental to the dining experience and not the draw itself.”
In the JazzBuffalo commentary, what we asked for and sought was a reasonable explanation of what appeared to be a new rule that caught many off guards. We stated:
Here is the thing, we want “to get it” and we want to be supportive. And, we want to be protected from the COVID-19 virus manifesting into an uncontrollable resurgence. For audiences, after all the adherence to doing whatever we can to get the positivity rate as one of the lowest in the country, want to know why they must forego a couple of hours of enjoying music in a setting clearly following guidelines.
To the DOH and the SLA, tell us why. We are listening. We will support you as we have to date. If the reasons are for the “good” of the public.
The State Liquor Authority issued a statement in response to an inquiry from Billboard Magazine, as well as, other media sources including JazzBuffalo. The SLA statement provides the following clarification:
“This guidance is not new — live entertainment activities, including all ticketed events, have been prohibited since New York went on PAUSE in mid-March to stop the spread of coronavirus,” the SLA statement reads. “Thanks to New Yorkers’ hard work, we have achieved, and so far maintained, one of the lowest rates of infection in the country, but these high-risk gatherings would create exactly the situation we are trying to avoid, where people congregate, mingle, and create congestion at points of ingress and egress.”
As to why this clarification was issued on the SLA website in their FAQ section this week, the statement provides this answer:
“This week, after seeing an increase in establishments advertising ticketed events, the SLA clarified language on its website and proactively emailed all bars and restaurants to ensure they were aware of the months-old restrictions. New Yorkers need to remember we are still fighting a global pandemic — and with dozens of states facing outbreaks, we must continue to take the threat of spreading COVID at mass gatherings seriously.”
Our commentary was intended to communicate the facts, ask why, and to lend support if for the “good” of the public. In light of their response via the statement, the intent is clearly for the good of the public. The SLA has basically stated the guidelines as intended has been in place all along.
We may or may not agree with the response from the State Liquor Authority or even the original guidelines issued back in March. However, we should applaud the SLA’s efforts of responding with a statement clarifying further – their clarification from earlier this week.