NY state bar, restaurant owners reiterate push to make alcohol to-go permanent

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ALBANY – Restaurant owners across the state are serving up a to-go order for the New York State Legislature.

This is what bar and restaurant owners have been asking for since before the pandemic began two years ago. Those business owners simply want lawmakers to pass legislation that allows them to continue making alcohol-to-go on a permanent basis.

The restaurant owners will tell you there is widespread need for the legislation, especially because it will help stimulate an economic recovery across the state.

Restaurant owners will also tell you that for 15 months of the pandemic during an emergency order, it was alcohol-to-go that sustained many businesses, and allowed them to stay afloat.

On top of that, an industry survey reveals 78% of New Yorkers favor alcohol-to-go on a permanent basis.

As the omicron variant surged during December and January, restaurant owners say business conditions deteriorated rapidly. In fact, a recent survey in the restaurant industry finds 86% of restaurant owners say they’re worse off now than they were three months ago. In recent weeks, 93% say they’ve experienced a decline in customer demand for indoor seating.

Even though at this point the timing of any alcohol legislation is uncertain, its passage seems likely since Gov. Hochul proposed it in her State of the State message, and there seems to be bipartisan support in the Legislature.

Hear one restaurant owner explain why he says alcohol to-go is such a crucial lifeline by watching the video of Dan Levy’s story.