NEW YORK — Members of the restaurant industry issued a statewide call on Wednesday for lawmakers to add take-out alcohol to the state budget.
Take-out alcohol was permitted during New York State’s state of emergency at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Shortly after the state of emergency expired, state politicians also allowed the delivery option to expire.
What do you want to know
- Take-out alcohol was allowed during New York State’s state of emergency at the height of the pandemic
- According to a Siena College poll, 55% of New Yorkers support the measure and about a third oppose it
- Liquor stores are against selling alcohol on the go due to direct competition
- Lobbyists want the legislation added to the budget. They have little time to gather support. The budget is expected at the end of March
“It’s very simple. If the takeaway alcohol doesn’t fit, you kick under our bar stool,” said Neir’s Tavern owner Loycent Gordon. “We are going to face a fragile, unstable and uncertain period.”
Gordon said he saw sales increase by up to 10% during the state of emergency, when restaurants were only allowed to deliver.
“[Restaurants] have one color. It’s green, but we’re bleeding red right now, and we really need help,” said Arelia Taveras, executive director of the NYS Latino Restaurant Bar and Lounge Association.
The restaurants have a majority of support from New Yorkers. According to a Siena College poll, 55% of New Yorkers support the measure and about a third oppose it.
Liquor stores are against selling alcohol to go because of direct competition, but perhaps the biggest proponent is Governor Kathy Hochul, who said she favors the legislation.
Gordon said revenues have plummeted due to COVID-19 surges that have kept people at home.
Lobbyists have a limited time to garner support. The budget is expected at the end of March.