Binghamton police will be making more visits to city restaurants and bars to determine whether the businesses are complying with COVID-19 health guidelines.

Mayor Richard David announced the more aggressive approach Wednesday as the number of new coronavirus infections in the city and across the Southern Tier continues to rise.

David said he has ordered the police and fire departments to "ramp up efforts" to ensure businesses and customers are adhering to occupancy requirements and social distancing rules.

The compliance program is being coordinated by the fire marshal's office. The mayor said the police and fire departments will check on restaurants and taverns "multiple times a week, including on weekends."

State guidelines require restaurants to limit indoor capacity to 50 percent of normal maximum occupancy. Tables must be at least six feet apart and employees must always wear face coverings. Customers are required to wear masks whenever they are not seated.

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