A new wrinkle in the state’s coronavirus guidelines for bars, restaurants and similar venues in New York state prohibits them from offering live music that customers pay for separately. It seems to have suddenly popped up in the rules this week.
It means no events where patrons buy tickets to see a performance. It also appears to ban events with cover charges. And it prohibits venues from advertising live entertainment.
The rule, posted in Q&A format on the State Liquor Authority web site, does allow what it calls “incidental” live music at venues that have permits for that.
“This means that advertised and/or ticketed shows are not permissible,” the SLA guidelines say. “Music should be incidental to the dining experience and not the draw itself.”
Many bars, restaurants and venues that had begun scheduling such events in recent weeks were taken by surprise. News of the new rules made the rounds among musicians and venue operators Tuesday.
“This is devastating,” said Julie Leone, co-owner of The 443 Social Club & Lounge on Burnet Avenue in Syracuse. The 443 had only reopened in the past few weeks. “This effectively shuts me down again.”
People in the entertainment industry say it’s especially frustrating because it seemed to come out of nowhere.