It's last call for alcohol to-go in New York as the COVID-19 state of emergency's expiration will end what restaurants considered a lifeline during the pandemic.
The State Liquor Authority on Wednesday confirmed the regulations allowing boozy beverages with takeout orders will lapse alongside the COVID-19 emergency rules on Thursday.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo previously announced on Wednesday morning the state of emergency would expire, though federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance for mask wearing in certain situations will remain in place.
Restaurant owners had hoped the the alcohol to-go rules would remain in place for the long term as the industry slowly recovers from the pandemic and some customers may continue to be hesitant with eating indoors. State lawmakers this year declined to take up a measure that would have set alcohol-to-go rules in state law.
“A permanent extension of alcohol-to-go is supported by 78% of New Yorkers, but the Legislature failed to extend it and now the Executive Order has ended," said Melissa Fleischut, the president and CEO of the New York State Restaurant Association. "Only in New York would elected officials ignore an overwhelming majority of the public. Restaurants are struggling to find staff, keep up with rising costs and manage a limited supply of goods, and nearly two-thirds of the applicants will not receive Restaurant Relief Funds. New York State must do more to help, not hurt, our restaurant industry.”