New York Lawmakers Look To Do Away With Open Container Laws

Steve Burns
July 30, 2020 - 4:41 pm

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    NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — Drinking in public might soon be allowed in New York, as lawmakers look to do away with open container laws amid reports of uneven enforcement amid the pandemic.

    Police have been cracking down at bars and restaurants that have been participating in the state’s outdoor dining program. While the enforcement was ramped up to ensure everyone was maintaining proper social distance, reports say the majority of violations involve New York’s open container law.

    According to Gothamist, 91% of those who were issued a ticket for having an open container in New York City were people of color, as well.

    However, with bars and restaurants allowed to serve alcoholic drinks out of their front window, New York Assemblyman Robert Carroll wonders what some expected to happen.

    “It is completely inappropriate and impractical to ask a bar or restaurant, that you have allowed to serve to go drinks, to now patrol the perimeter of their establishment,” he said.

    He's filed a bill to put New York's laws prohibiting public drinking on hold for the duration of the coronavirus emergency.

    “This was an antiquated, racist law,” Carroll stressed.

    He says the enforcement needs to be equal throughout the city if it is going to exist.

    “It doesn't mean New York City is going to become bourbon street.  And there are lots and lots of other cities that don't have open container laws that are not constant parties,” he said.

    Carroll also says the law could encourage people to instead go home and hold indoor gatherings.

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