New York restaurants and bars would receive a sales tax holiday if a measure backed by two state lawmakers is approved as the industry continues to struggle with the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The bill would create a one-week sales tax exemption for food and drinks sold at restaurants and taverns. It would apply to in-person dining as well as takeout and delivery.
"Due to the ongoing COVID outbreak and ensuing economic shutdown, restaurants and taverns across New York State are struggling to remain open, keep their workers employed, and continue serving their respective communities," said Sen. Daphne Jordan, a Republican who represents the Capital Region.
"These restaurants and taverns often have deep, strong roots in the local community, support countless charitable causes, and provide tens of thousands of jobs."
Jordan is backing the bill alongside Democratic Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara.
“Keeping our local businesses open and thriving is absolutely essential to the economic success of not only our communities, but also our entire state,” he said. “This new measure will provide a much-needed boost for small businesses that are owned and operated by our neighbors and friends. Helping restaurant owners increase their revenue will help ease the burden they’re facing during these difficult times.”
The measure comes as state officials have taken a targeted approach to pandemic-related closures as COVID-19 cases rise around the country and in New York. Areas with a spike in COVID-19 cases will close for takeout only.
Outdoor dining during the warmer weather months, meanwhile, is giving way to a winter time in which restaurants and bars are once again limited in their options.
In August, the association that represents the restaurant industry found in a survey that, without aid, the sector faces a bleak future.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article incorrectly quoted Santabarbara. The error has been corrected. (December 1, 2020)