Harvey’s Restaurant and Bar in Saratoga Springs added the snack to comply with the governor’s latest coronavirus edict, which was issued on Thursday and didn't explicitly say that chips weren't enough to satisfy the requirement.
The rule was intended to help prevent a second spike in COVID-19 cases in the state, which was once an epicenter of the pandemic, even as they surge in the rest of the country.
Shortly afterward, a photo of a receipt showing a single order of the bar’s Cuomo Chips was shared on social media by Steve Maugeri, a reporter at CBS 6 Albany-WRGB, and quickly went viral.
“The Cuomo Chips are doing well,” Harvey’s Co-owner and General Manager Matthew Bagley told FOX Business. “The reason we came up with them is that, you know, we have been constantly evolving and changing as executive orders are being passed on… Now we have to impose another limitation on our guests, so we named them ‘Cuomo Chips,’ because we have to have you purchase food.”
Dubbing them Cuomo Chips wasn’t a political move, he said.
“We were just doing it to make light of the situation, not make light of the pandemic, but to make light of another executive order being passed,” Bagley explained. “You never bring politics or religion into a bar. So it's unfortunate that people are twisting things around a little bit, but that's the nature of going viral.”
In a conference call with reporters on the matter, Cuomo said New York City had received 5,000 registered complaints of residents violating social-distancing measures.
"If you’re not eating a meal, and you’re just drinking, then it’s just an outdoor bar and people are mingling and they’re not isolated at individual tables," the Democratic governor said. "And that’s what we’re seeing."
Bagley said he has received mixed opinions on whether the Irish pub is in compliance with Cuomo's rule, but he consulted with the State Liquor Authority and was told that chips served with salsa or another dip would meet the new standard.
Since he introduced them, their popularity among locals has prompted Harvey's to expand its offerings to flatbread, pretzels and pizza rolls, all of which provide an extra measure of certainty.