Booze-to-go is back on the menu in New York

Posted On Fri, April 8, 2022 By

Posted On Fri, April 8, 2022 By In Policy, Restaurants

Photo of New Yorkers drinking on St. Mark’s Place by Eden, Janine and Jim on Flickr

As part of Gov. Kathy Hochul’s state budget negotiations, restaurants will once again be able to add alcoholic drinks to delivery and takeout orders. To keep restaurants afloat at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, to-go cocktail, wine, and beer service was given the green light for 15 months. When public health precautions were scaled back, customers returned to the city’s eateries, and alcoholic drink delivery was 86’d. The law, which will take effect when the budget is passed by the Legislature and signed by the governor, will allow restaurants to offer to-go booze for the next three years, Gothamist reports.

Even after diners returned to the city’s eating establishments, delivery orders remained a significant part of the restaurant business. Without the cocktail, beer, and wine component to meal delivery, recovery was slow. Hochul announced plans in January for legislation that would permanently allow the sale of to-go alcoholic beverages, as 6sqft previously reported.

The renewal of liquor-to-go delivery comes with new regulations, of course: Restaurants can’t sell full bottles of liquor in deference to liquor retailers’ concerns. And customers will have to order a “substantial food item” to purchase take-out alcohol.

After the three-year period, lawmakers will decide whether to extend the law.

“When the pandemic shut down indoor dining, ‘drinks to go’ provided a critical revenue stream to struggling restaurants,” Andrew Rigie, executive director of the NYC Hospitality Alliance, said in a statement. “The popular policy’s return to the Empire State will serve as an important lifeline to countless restaurants in all corners of the state and allow New Yorkers to once again have wine delivered to their front door or to pick up a margarita with their takeout food from their favorite neighborhood restaurants.”

To further appease liquor stores’ concerns, the budget’s alcohol laws include the go-ahead to open on Christmas Day, rolling back longstanding prohibition-era regulations. There will also be a new commission formed to examine ways the alcoholic beverage control law can be improved.


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