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National Restaurant Association - Beverage ban coalition to hold New York City speak-out

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Beverage ban coalition to hold New York City speak-out

New Yorkers for Beverage Choices, the coalition that opposes New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's proposed beverage ban in that city, is urging the public to attend its July 23 speak-out on the steps of City Hall.

The point of the event, the coalition said, is to "get a wide showing of support in opposition to the proposed ban." Business owners and residents alike are encouraged to participate in the gathering, which starts at 10 a.m.

"New Yorkers aren't going to accept government dictating what they are allowed to drink and in what quantities," said coalition spokesman Eliot Hoff.

In addition to the speak-out, the coalition also is circulating a petition opposing the ban, which already has been signed by more than 70,000 people.

The beverage ban, if passed, would prohibit the sale of sugar-sweetened beverages above 16 ounces at restaurants, delis, concessions at movie theaters and stadiums, food carts and other venues throughout the New York City area. Soda, energy drinks, some coffee beverages and sweetened iced tea would be subject to the ban, but diet soda, some fruit juices, dairy-based drinks and alcoholic beverages would not.

The city's Department of Health is holding a hearing on the issue July 24, at which public testimony will be heard. Representatives of the National Restaurant Association, a coalition member, are scheduled to speak at the hearing, which will be held from 1-3 p.m. at the Department of Health's headquarters in Queens, N.Y.

The mayor has said the beverage ban is aimed at lowering the city's rising obesity rates, and that it does not need voter or city council approval. The board of health is expected to vote Sept. 13 on whether or not to enact the regulation.

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