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New York Deems Liquor Stores ‘Essential Business,’ May Remain Open During Statewide Coronavirus Shutdown

Jonathan Vankin - Author
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Mar. 20 2020, Updated 12:13 p.m. ET

As the number of coronavirus cases in New York state topped 7,000 on Friday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued an executive order requiring individuals to remain in their homes whenever possible and all “non-essential” businesses to close. However, people who rely on alcoholic beverages to get through the crisis will be spared because liquor stores have been listed as “essential” under Cuomo’s order, according to The New York Times.

Grocery stores and pharmacies may also remain open as “essential” businesses under the executive order, along with convenience stores, gas stations, banks, dry cleaners, laundromats, as well as certain other business types, according to the Times account.

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In Pennsylvania, where Gov. Tim Wolf has also ordered non-essential businesses to close. State-licensed liquor stores have not been exempted and must shut down.

“In these uncertain and unprecedented times, the public health crisis and mitigation effort must take priority over the sale of wine and spirits,” Pennsylvania’s Liquor Control Board Director Tim Holden said in a statement, as quoted by the news site PennLive.

Cuomo’s order allows healthy people under age 70 to leave their homes for the purpose of exercise, such as taking walks, as well as to purchase groceries and medicine. Nonetheless, New Yorkers must maintain a distance of at least six feet from others when outside their homes, The Times reported.

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