Guidance for Wineries Regarding Live Music

Recently, the State Liquor Authority issued clarifying guidance on “Live Music” permissions at establishments licensed for on-premise alcohol sales.  An email was sent to every licensee; however, it has come to our attention that not every winery received this message from the SLA.  A copy of the email message is reproduced below. 

The COVID Reopening mandatory rules actually have not changed at all.  The State is proactively engaging in enforcement measures against licensees who are not observing proper social distancing protocols.  The SLA sent their email in an effort to provide further clarification about the public health measures developed by a team public health experts at NYS Department of Health.  The SLA has no role in developing the COVID reopening guidelines, but they are tasked by the Governor’s office to enforce them. 

We know it may be frustrating to learn about these changes through the media or word of mouth especially if you did not receive the SLA email.  You can take corrective action by emailing web.master@sla.ny.gov to ensure that the SLA has the correct email address for your business.  And, you can also sign up for the Governor’s Office daily evening COVID-19 updates here: https://now.ny.gov/page/s/coronavirus-updates 

Message from SLA sent to all licensees: 

To all licensees with on premises service privileges,  

We would like to take a moment to remind licensees (that may have the privilege of providing entertainment) of what has currently been deemed safe in terms of live entertainment.  Currently, only incidental music performances are safe and permissible.  Incidental music is non-ticketed, unadvertised performances that accompany and are incidental to a dining experience; i.e., patrons have come to dine, and the music provided is incidental to the dining experience.   Performers must be 12 foot separate from patrons.  This is the only form of permissible live entertainment.  Any other type of event (concerts, dance, comedy, etc.) is not incidental and is therefore impermissible at this time for health and safety reasons.  Performing arts guidance has not yet been issued by the Department of Health. 

If you would like to provide incidental music, please also take a moment to note whether your license allows for such.  An on premises license may provide incidental music so long as  the type of music is explicitly permissible on the license certificate.  A manufacturing license may provide incidental music unless the license certificate explicitly prohibits it.  Note as well that karaoke is not presently permitted for reasons of health and safety.    

We hope that this helps to clarify your privileges and responsibilities.  If you have any further questions, please consult the existing DOH and SLA Guidances.  

Delivery/Take Out Guidelines, FAQs https://sla.ny.gov/Restrictions-in-Response-to-COVID-19 

Outdoor Dining Guidelines, FAWs https://sla.ny.gov/new-york-state-liquor-authority-guidance-outdoor-expansion-licensed-premises-response-covid-19 

Phase 3 & 4 Guidelines, FAQs  https://sla.ny.gov/phase3-guidelines-for-on-premises-licenses 

Licensing FAQs https://sla.ny.gov/licensing-policies-during-coronavirus-response