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Michael Dorf

In New Op-Ed, City Winery’s Michael Dorf Calls On New York To Revisit Ticketing Restrictions

Michael Dorf
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NEW YORK (CelebrityAccess) — City Winery founder Michael Dorf has taken aim at New York State’s restrictions on ticketed live music events in a new op-ed in the New York Daily News.

The ban on live events was imposed by the State Liquor Authority, who in August confirmed that only “incidental” music is allowed in establishments that serve liquor, effectively banning ticketed shows at many of the state’s concert venues.

Dorf takes issue with New York State’s ban on live music events as the state seeks to limit the impact of COVID-19 on its residents. In August, the State Liquor Authority confirmed that only “incidental” music is allowed in venues that serve liquor, effectively banning ticketed shows.

According to Dorf, a one-sized all approach does not, and especially not City Winery’s newest location in Manhattan, which, under the state’s occupancy rules, is allowed to operate at 25% capacity.

“Our facility and protocols are just as safe as, if not safer than going to Walgreens, to Whole Foods or to any of our fellow restaurants trying to survive,” Dorf said in the New York Daily News op-ed.

“The real question for Gov. Cuomo, Mayor de Blasio and the other so-called progressives making the rules is this: Is live culture — music, comedy, theater, dance — that low on our societal hierarchy of needs? Is that not what has made New York special since P.T. Barnum started putting on shows down at the Bowery?” Dorf added.

Dorf also took issue with the seemingly arbitrary nature of the restriction, noting that “if Bruce Springsteen or Billy Joel were to jump on our stage unannounced, that would be fine, but we can’t sell a single ticket. Now, those two established artists might not need to perform right now in order to support themselves and their families, but what about the thousands of lesser-known artists who are also being unfairly restricted from working? Why can’t our 100 diners sitting in those exact same socially distant seats pay to see their favorite artists and help the only revenue stream available to most musicians?”

“The restrictions being enforced are discriminatory, short-sighted and detrimental to the smart re-opening of essential services in our community. Society needs the living arts. New York City in particular needs them. Live music is not incidental but essential to our city’s survival and safe re-opening. And right now, live music is dying,” Dorf concluded.

Read the whole op-ed here.


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