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Health Department Group Seeking Proposals To Limit Alcohol Sales In NYC

Bar Owners, Patrons Wonder Aloud If Bloomberg's Lost It Once And For All
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(File Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

(File Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

CBS New York (con't)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – He doesn’t like the salt on the margarita glass and has fought against the fat in the Kahlua and cream. But was Mayor Michael Bloomberg really thinking of trying to shut the tap on the bar business as the New York Post reported?

The mayor wasn’t talking Wednesday, but New Yorkers sure were, reports CBS 2’s Tony Aiello.

“You can’t stop a New Yorker from having a martini or a drink,” said Michael Giameta of the Upper West Side.

“It’s just absolutely crazy,” added Paul Hurley.

LISTEN: WCBS 880’s Rich Lamb reports

Hurley, the president of the United Restaurant and Tavern Owners, was upset after learning of the Health Department document that listed goals, including: “reduce alcohol retail outlet density” and “reduce the exposure to alcohol products and bar advertising and promotion.”

It sure looked like a city effort to reduce where booze is sold and where it’s advertised.

The reaction was largely negative.

“I think it’s sort of overstepping for him to get into that kind of area where they’re editing what’s going on at the street level,” said Tulsi Reynolds of the Upper West Side.

Pub owner Hurley agreed, saying New York’s hospitality industry would suffer.

“Fifty million people come to New York City last year. It’s a great achievement, great city, people want to hang out,” Hurley said.

LISTEN: 1010 WINS’ Juliet Papa reports

But city health officials said it is a sobering fact that alcohol is a factor in many crimes, health problems and quality-of-life issues.

Former U.S. Health Secretary Joe Califano said the mayor is right – the city should be able to limit bars and liquor stores in high-crime and high-addiction neighborhoods.

“Moderation in drinking, moderation in distribution of liquor stores and bars, that’s what we need here. It’s very important because access is so key as the element of why people drink and when people abuse alcohol,” Califano said.

The Health Department said it is still committed to efforts to reduce excessive drinking, and the problems it causes.

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