NEW YORK — Mayor Michael Bloomberg and his administration have come up with another health initiative for New York City; it’s to limit the sale of alcohol in the city to curb excessive drinking, as well as slash the number of establishments serving alcohol, according to a planning document obtained by the New York Post.
One of the goals listed in the “request for proposal” document to community groups is “reducing alcohol retail outlet (e.g. bar, corner store) density and illegal alcohol,” the document states.
In a recent update by the New York Post, Bloomberg abandoned the proposal to shut down bars or liquor stores. Asked if the mayor backed the effort to limit booze-selling businesses, Bloomberg spokesman Stu Loeser said, “No.”
Health officials and advocates have also discussed banning liquor advertising seen by millions of straphangers in the transit system. “Reduce the exposure to alcohol products and bar advertising and promotion in retail and general (trains, buses, etc.) settings (stores, restaurants, etc,” the department’s document says.
“The city’s goals for the Partnership for a Healthier New York are in line with our ongoing strategies of promoting healthy eating and physical activity and discouraging tobacco, excessive alcohol use and consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages,” a spokeswoman said. “Specific proposals, however, are still in the planning phase.”
Health officials cite an army of statistics to defend the crackdown.
Alcohol-related hospital emergency-room visits doubled for underage New Yorkers from 2003 to 2009, and one in 10 hospitalizations are booze-related, while one in six adult New Yorkers report heavy drinking.
Alcohol is a factor in nearly half of homicides and 28 percent of vehicle-crash fatalities.
According to the Huffington Post, the program could pick up steam with the help of local community boards, namely those in the Lower East Side and Williamsburg, which have attempted to reduce the number of new liquor licenses in the neighborhoods, mostly in an attempt to reduce noise and general rowdiness.