Dear HL Clients,

Such new respect for ER doctors now.  Three day shifts with a few hours sleep here and there and then non-stop emergencies to triage.  Big, life-changing decisions to be made. It's no joke. Take a minute for yourself. Sit down for a second. Have a beer, do a crossword puzzle, make a cake. 

Here is the latest:


Today, after so many of our clients already decided to shut down, Governor Cuomo decided to allow restaurants and bars to deliver alcohol and said this:

"Whatever you could order [in] the bar or restaurant or distillery or winery you can purchase through takeout," Cuomo said during the press conference. "We hope that goes a long way toward alleviating any economic hardship."

A long way? He thinks telling owners one day before they are required to close that they can deliver alcohol is going to alleviate the economic hardship faced by restaurants? Like now, we will be ok because we can deliver a pitcher of margaritas?  Who's gonna deliver it, the national guard? We still have to pay the heavy Caviar or Seamless tax.  How out of touch with the industry can he be?

If he really wants to alleviate our hardship, he will work with the insurance industry to cover business interruption claims or get us some damn loans already or somehow work with landlords to abate our rents.  It's downright insulting to think that delivering alcohol is the solution to a much, much deeper problem.

Anyway, in the words of Joe Biden, here's the deal:


The SLA has agreed to make certain exceptions and allowances, to help their licensees get through this crazy time. They are:

1) When on-premises establishments are confined to just being "take out" or "delivery" hubs, the SLA is prepared to allow them to sell alcohol in this same fashion as well - NOT just beer (which is normally the case), but wine and spirits as well. They're still sorting out the details re: whether mixed drinks could be sold, what type of restrictions are to be expected with bottle service, etc. This was supposed to be updated today by 5:00 PM today but as of now, nothing. We will keep you posted on this.
2) The SLA is suspending any kind of enforcement w/r/t establishments not being open to the public while their licenses remain active. This is typically a violation, but in light of the circumstances, the SLA will not be writing these violations.
3) If you would like, you may return alcohol purchases to distributors, dating back to March 1, 2020, for credit;
4) All hearings will be closed for two weeks, so if you have any hearings in the coming weeks, they have all been postponed.


According to the landlord attorneys I spoke to today, their clients are being realistic about not receiving timely rent payments from their retail tenants.  They also don't want to lose good tenants so they will be open to negotiating a rent repayment plan that makes sense.  Email our Real Estate Mayan Bouskila at: if you want help with your lease and landlord.


I spoke to some brokers today and they all think that business interruption claims are an uphill battle because the triggering event of a pandemic is not covered.  The only way that coverage happens is if the government insists that all business interruption claims are covered and then backs up the insurance companies.  For now, call your broker and tell them that you want them to put the carrier on notice.  Then, if help arrives and claims will be covered, they can file one.  In the meantime, call you congressman, senator, governor, president, or anyone that supposedly represents you and tell them that you need this to happen.


Nothing new here at all.  Sure, take your time dear civic leaders, no rush, we are all just drowning here.
Tomorrow is D-Day and the motor of this city grinds to a halt.

Let's be careful out there.


Helbraun Levey is a full-service law firm focused on the legal and licensing needs of New York’s bar, restaurant and cannabis industries.  We will help you develop, grow and succeed with our extensive industry knowledge and client-driven, individualized approach to legal representation.
The information in this email is provided for general informational purposes only, and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information contained in this email should be construed as legal advice from Helbraun Levey, LLP, the individual author, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this email should act or refrain from acting on the basis of any information included in, or accessible through, this email without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer licensed in the recipient’s state, country or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.

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