Bloomberg slams ‘totally fictitious’ happy-hour ban story

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Today, Mayor Michael Bloomberg mercilessly lambasted a New York Post cover story that claimed the city is considering a happy-hour ban.

In this morning’s paper, the Post quoted anonymous sources within the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, who said discussions were underway to outlaw alcohol specials at bars and restaurants.

Bloomberg quickly responded to the report, saying: “This year the committee did not award a Pulitzer Prize for fiction. Now we have one … for next year.”

He added: “The Health Department has no plans. We told them we have no plans. It is a totally fictitious, made-up story, and it’s just not what I would call responsible journalism.”

When contacted by Metro, Robert S. Bookman, counsel for the New York Nightlife Association, a trade group that advocates for bar and restaurant owners in New York City, seemed unconcerned about the fate of happy hour.

“I seriously doubt the truth of such a rumor, as they are aware that they have absolutely no jurisdiction over the sale or consumption of alcohol,” he said in an email, referring to the city Department of Health. “The state has complete power over that issue.”

Are any booze restrictions on the way?

The Bloomberg administration has never made any secret of its desire to improve public health, championing smoking bans, mandatory calorie counts on menus and other similar measures.

Thus far, Bloomberg and Department of Health Commissioner Thomas Farley have largely left booze alone,  however. The Health Department did state in its “Take Care New York 2012” report that it would advocate for “limits on sales practices … that promote drinking among adolescents and heavy drinking among adults.”

It did not offer any specifics as to what those policies might be.

Hospitalizations for problems attributable to alcohol were 209.2 per 100,000 people in 2006, according to the Health Department. Its goal is to get that number down to 170 by this year.


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