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Queens Chronicle

Mayor claims bars will accept IDNYC

Under state law, alcohol cannot be bought with city identification card

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Posted: Thursday, October 3, 2019 10:30 am | Updated: 12:25 pm, Thu Oct 10, 2019.

Mayor de Blasio said IDNYC cards should be accepted as valid identification to get into bars and nightclubs during his appearance on WNYC’s “The Brian Lehrer Show” last Friday.

“I will have our nightlife office make sure to alert all of the bars, restaurants, night clubs that it is a valid ID and it should be respected,” he said after a caller said he had been unable to get into a bar with his.

De Blasio said that he “never heard of people not being able to use it just to prove something as basic as your age to get into a bar, it’s a 100 percent valid ID.”

But there’s an issue: IDNYC, which was launched in 2015, doesn’t allow card holders to purchase alcohol under state rules.

So what does this mean for the people who run these places?

“I would lean towards always following the guidelines that the state dictates,” said Kambri Crews, owner of QED in Astoria.

That could mean not accepting the IDNYC cards and incurring city wrath.

“As a small business, I’m always worried about any small infraction,” Crews said. “I try to follow the letter of the law and it can get really confusing.”

Crews recalled several months ago how the state required all employers to adopt a sexual harassment prevention policy but the city only applied it to employers with 15 or more workers. She contacted lawmakers and attorneys and they all told her the state law will prevail.

Crews said she has never been presented with an IDNYC card but has seen passports. She wouldn’t want to turn someone away who has valid identification and believes the state should recognize it.

“The quicker they can do that the less complications and just waste of everyone’s time and money [there will be],” she said.

Loycent Gordon, owner of the historic Neir’s Tavern in Woodhaven, said he follows federal law.

“As a business owner, I think the most important thing is to verify that the person is legally able to drink alcohol and that’s determined by the age,” Gordon said.

He said his main goal is to make sure someone is 21.

“Everything else is — seems to me — conjecture and politics,” Gordon said.

Gary Taylor, the owner of Tropix in Rego Park, said the important thing is for him to verify someone is of legal age to drink.

“If the city comes out and says that’s a legal document that we can accept then I have no problem with it,” he said.

Asked which types of ID are valid to buy alcohol, the state Liquor Authority emailed the Chronicle the portion of the Alcoholic Beverage Control Law that lists them. The list does not include IDNYC.

Proper forms of identification include a valid driver’s license from one of the 50 states or Canada, valid ID issued by the New York Department of Motor Vehicles such as a non-driver ID card, valid U.S. military identification or a valid passport or visa from the U.S. or any other country.

De Blasio’s caller is an Astoria resident who explained he doesn’t want to walk around with his passport, doesn’t drive and that his IDNYC is all he has for identification.

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