Should To-Go Alcohol be Made Permanent in New York After COVID-19? Restaurants Say Yes

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NEW YORK NOW – More than three-quarters of New Yorkers would like to see New York state permanently allow restaurants to offer take-out alcohol with food orders, a survey from the New York State Restaurant Association found.

According to the survey, which was conducted earlier this month, 78% of New Yorkers want the option, implemented during the pandemic, to be made permanent in New York.

 Photo by Karen DeWitt.

And the New York State Restaurant Association is now making a final effort to have alcohol to-go made permanent before the end of the state legislative session, which is scheduled to conclude in early June.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed an executive order permitting takeout alcohol last year, after the indoor portions of restaurants were shut down and businesses were looking for safe ways to serve their customers at the start of the pandemic.

Melissa Fleischut, the CEO of the New York State Restaurant Association, told New York NOW that codifying Cuomo’s executive order would give restaurant owners some peace of mind as they continue to recover from the pandemic.

“Maybe some of the reason that it hasn’t been done so far is that the governor continues to extend the executive order. ” Fleischut said.

“We’re really going to put on a press for this to get extended through the legislature, so the industry can have some certainty, instead of waiting every 30 days to have the governor extend it through executive order.”

Should New York Keep To-Go Alcohol Permanent After COVID-19? Restaurants Say Yes | New York NOW

Darrell Camp speaks with Melissa Felischut from the New York State Restaurant Association about legislation that would make to-go alcohol permanent after the COVID-19 pandemic is over.

As of right now, to-go alcohol sales can continue through June 5th.

When it comes to the Legislature, members of both houses and both parties have expressed support for making to-go alcohol permanent.

Sen. George Borrello, R-Chautauqua, is in the restaurant business and supports the measure. He told New York NOW that the industry needs a lifeline after the past 14 months.

“I think that the hospitality industry was probably the most injured, we had roughly 20 percent of New York restaurants close,” Borrello said.

Fleischut said that about 17% of restaurants in New York closed during the pandemic and will not reopen.

The last day of the legislative session is June 10, leaving less than three weeks for the proposal to pass.