The restaurant industry in New York is continuing to press lawmakers to permanently extend alcohol-to-go provisions in the state, which was shown to be a lifeline for many establishments struggling during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The New York Restaurant Association on Monday is set to release a new survey that found 78% of New Yorkers back the permanent extension for allowing patrons to purchase alcoholic beverages with takeout or delivery orders, with similarly large majorities backing the move across the state.
“Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, struggling restaurants were able to boost sales and keep doors open through the ability of selling alcoholic beverages with their orders," said Melissa Fleischut, the president and CEO of the New York State Restaurant Association. "The same relief that was once needed at the height of the pandemic is still needed now. The restaurant industry needs stability now more than ever, and by making ‘alcohol-to-go’ permanent we can encourage a strong recovery. It’s popular with operators and customers alike. The numbers don’t lie.”
Gov. Andrew Cuomo earlier this month extended the alcohol-to-go provisions through an executive order to June 5 after lawmakers did not take up the measure in th state budget last month. The restaurant association's survey found of the people who purchased a to-go alcoholic beverage, 96% support the permanent extension.
The restaurant industry has struggled during the COVID-19 pandemic, with the industry shedding thousands of jobs. Last week, New York moved to loosen pandemic restrictions on businesses and public gathering spaces as part of a broader reopening.
Restaurants have said making the extension a permanent one would go hand-in-hand with the overall push to reopen businesses.
“The vast majority of New Yorkers agree that keeping alcohol-to-go is a no brainer," said Scott Wexler, Executive Director of the Empire State Restaurant & Tavern Association. "Everyone knows that restaurants have struggled during the pandemic, but most importantly we have stood up and helped our communities as essential businesses and workers. Now, as we work to bring back the business we lost, keeping alcohol-to-go makes sense — it allows our customers to enjoy the restaurant experience at home until they're comfortable dining in, our workers benefit from the extra tip income, and restaurant owners need every available revenue source as they struggle to recover."