The New York City Sheriff’s Office, which has been the city’s primary agency enforcing coronavirus-related restrictions at bars and restaurants, will have additional deputies working on New Year’s Eve to monitor and break up any illicit parties, the sheriff, Joe Fucito, said on Wednesday.
Throughout the year, sheriff’s deputies have been responsible for breaking up dozens of large parties that violate New York State’s pandemic rules on gatherings. Since the spring, deputies have busted a crowded sex party in Queens and a fight club in the Bronx and cracked down on a bar in Staten Island, a conflict that drew national headlines.
New Year’s Eve in New York City has long been a night for crowded parties at bars and clubs, but the pandemic has upended nightlife. Many venues are not permitted to open, and restaurants and bars are only allowed to serve outdoors but must end service at 10 p.m.
Sheriff Fucito said deputies would focus on enforcing the rules in places that violate a number of state and city laws, including prohibitions against onstage pyrotechnics, overcrowding and the illegal sale of alcohol.
On Wednesday evening, many New Yorkers were running errands to prepare for a quiet New Year’s Eve at home. Mattie Weatherby was at a Party City in Manhattan buying crowns, hats, beads and plastic champagne flutes. Ms. Weatherby said that she and her fiancé would make dinner — maybe a roasted chicken — and drink champagne with two other couples. She said they were regularly tested for the coronavirus, adding, “We’re trying to be responsible.”
Nearby liquor stores seemed mostly quiet compared to the bustling Party City. Alexis Raia, the manager of Chelsea Wine Country, said her shop had just 156 sales by Wednesday night, compared with 216 on Dec. 30 last year. Many of the purchases were individual bottles of champagne, rather than the usual cases of it.
Ali Muhana, an employee at Wine on Nine, said his store had not sold even “30 percent of what we were selling last year.”
“We already saw with Christmas, one of our big days, it didn’t turn out at all,” Mr. Muhana said. “I don’t think New Year’s is going to turn out any better.”
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