One of the few silver linings for restaurants in New York during the pandemic was the loosening of the regulations for to-go alcoholic drink orders.
Now, as the industry works to recover in the post-pandemic world, the New York State Restaurant Association is pushing to make the change a permanent one as state lawmakers this month consider the state budget.
"Allowing restaurants to offer alcohol for takeout and delivery has been a lifeline for many in the restaurant industry during this difficult time," said Melissa Fleischut, the group's president and CEO.
"Our industry, as well as our customers, quickly recognized the mutual benefit that this arrangement can provide, and it has been incredibly popular across the state. We urge the Legislature and Governor to act quickly to ensure that eateries still have this option available to them as sales numbers are still lagging well behind normal year projections. While we hope that alcohol to-go eventually becomes permanent, an extension is our immediate priority."
Restaurants in New York closed a year ago today in order to halt the spread of the virus. Since then, many businesses have failed and others have had to cut back sharply on staff in order to stay open.
Restaurants were able to benefit from federal aid injected into the economy over the last year, but many owners have questioned whether they can continue to remain open.