Underage drinkers can easily buy booze in New York City, according to the findings of an undercover investigation into liquor sales at grocery stores, pharmacies and other retail outlets.
Underage decoys were able to buy alcoholic beverages in more than half of the 911 stores sampled during the six-month probe last year, officials with the city Department of Health and Mental Hygiene said Sunday.
The outlets that sold alcohol to the decoys represent about 10 percent of all the stores with liquor licenses in the five boroughs.
Retailers charged with underage sales of alcohol face civil penalties of up to $10,000 per violation, with fines starting at $2,500 for a first offense, according to the authority. Repeat offenders could lose their licenses.
The city health department intends to send letters to all stores in the city licensed to sell beer, wine or liquor requesting that they help reduce underage drinking by checking customer IDs.