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

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.

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.

Andrew Cuomo holds a press briefing.
Getty Images | Bennett Raglin
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued a stay-at-home order for his state on Friday.

As The Inquisitr reported, New York City has become the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic within the United States, with approximately 4,000 cases reported in the nation's most populous city as of Thursday. That figure was approximately 40 percent of all cases in the country at that time. By Friday afternoon, the number of cases in the city alone had topped 5,000.

Cuomo said on Friday that he did not intend the stay-at-home order to be toothless and would use law enforcement to force residents to comply if necessary, as quoted by the Times report.

"These are not helpful hints," the Democratic governor said, emphasizing that the rules on business closures and individuals remaining indoors "will be enforced."

The coronavirus pandemic has now reached all 50 states as well as Washington, D.C., with more than 16,300 cases and 251 fatalities from the COVID-19 disease caused by the runaway virus in the United States, according to a CNN report.

In both California and Florida, restaurants that have been required to close except for takeout or delivery service will be permitted to continue serving alcoholic beverages, such as cocktails, on a takeout and delivery basis as well, according to the CNN report.