In case you were wondering, liquor stores qualify as essential businesses in New York state and will be exempt from Governor Andrew Cuomo’s executive order for non-essential workers to stay home.
According to the New York State Liquor Association, liquor stores will remain open and do not need to reduce their workforce. Owner Nancy Andrews of Fort Hill Liquor in Rochester said she was initially conflicted after making the decision to temporarily close the doors to her family business last week.
“I didn’t feel comfortable about my co-workers,” Andrews said. “My patrons; my family all being exposed to anything. So, we closed down voluntarily.”
After learning her business is deemed essential, Andrews opened up shop but took precautionary measures and made several changes.
"We don't touch the credit card processor,” Andrews said. “We wipe it down after every transaction. We restricted our hours; we are now open only from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m., which may change because everything changes every day. We are only taking credit card payments and phone payments.”
Adjustments to operations also include social distancing and curbside service, which is set to launch this week. Andrews said she feels fortunate to keep her business running, but also feels for those who have no choice amid New York state’s order for 100 percent of the workforce to stay at home.
"Everybody just has to do their best to support everybody,” Andrews said.
East Avenue Liquor store serves its patrons solely via curbside service. Store owner Nelson Habecker said it is being received well.
"Everyone stays in their car,” Habecker said. “We’ll come out and serve you. Tell us what you need; we’ll go inside and get it. We'll take your credit card, bring it back out and you'll be on your way. We don’t have to worry about people coming inside the door and touching the doors. We’ll all wear gloves.”