Because curtailing people’s freedom of choice within your own jurisdiction doesn’t amount to nearly enough government overreach for humanity’s self-anointed paternalists, obviously.
Bloomberg’s big-soda ban is set to go into effect in just a couple of weeks on March 12, but the law only applies to food establishments regulated by the Health Department; stores in which prepared foods make up less than 50 percent of sales, however, fall under the oversight of the state’s Agriculture Department and can escape the ban’s jurisdiction. That means that restaurants, bars, nightclubs, etcetera will all come under Bloomberg’s watchful eye, but supermarkets and the like are good to go. (So, what’s the point of this stupidly ineffectual ban again? Oh, awareness or something? Sorry, I almost forgot. Moving on.)
Bloomberg’s proffered solution to this obvious gap in enforcement efficiency? Just get the whole state to get with the program, duh. It’s for the children, after all. Reports the NY Post:
At a press conference today, the mayor was asked why pizza shops shouldn’t be in the same category as supermarkets, where customers would still be able to walk out with all the two-liter soda bottles they could carry.
“You have exactly the right question, but you’re asking it the wrong way,” the mayor said.
“Keep in mind we’re trying to save the lives of these kids, particularly kids…The state should do exactly the same thing in stores.”
Gov. Cuomo’s office said it was preparing a response.
Cuomo has tepidly endorsed the soda ban on the city-level before, arguing that the city can simply elect in a brand-new mayor if they end up hating it — I wonder if he’ll feel the same why about the ban’s merits when applied to the entire state?
Meanwhile, while Bloomberg ponders the ways to spread his nanny-state wisdom to larger realms, the rest of the city is battening down the hatches for the regulatory and economic impacts the ban is going to have on the food industries:
The city Health Department last week began sending brochures to businesses that would be affected by the latest ban, including restaurants, bars and any “food service” establishment subject to letter grades.
And merchants were shocked to see the broad sweep of the new rules.
“It’s not fair. If you’re gonna tell me what to do, it’s no good,” said Steve DiMaggio of Caruso’s in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn. “It’s gonna cost a lot more.”
And consumers, especially families, will soon see how the rules will affect their wallets — forcing them to pay higher unit prices for smaller bottles.
Typically, a pizzeria charges $3 for a 2-liter bottle of Coke. But under the ban, customers would have to buy six 12-ounce cans at a total cost of $7.50 to get an equivalent amount of soda.
“I really feel bad for the customers,” said Lupe Balbuena of World Pie in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn.