Restaurants, distillers furious at the end of take-out liquor | New York State


Restaurant owners, distillers and other eateries have lambasted the state legislature for not voting this session to legalize take-out alcoholic beverages, which quickly became a staple in the COVID-19 pandemic and helped the hospitality industry to stay afloat.

Take-out alcohol ended at midnight on Friday when the nearly 16-month state of emergency due to the COVID-19 pandemic expired.

Cuomo on Wednesday announced the end of emergency and pandemic-related orders. New York’s state of emergency came into effect on March 7, 2020, after Governor Andrew Cuomo signed Executive Order 202, ending all executive orders in the pandemic era, including alcoholic beverages at take out, or the temporary privilege that allowed New Yorkers to order alcoholic beverages from takeout or delivery establishments.

“It’s very simple – it’s money,” John Curtin, owner and distiller of Albany Distilling Company, said Thursday. “We don’t have the resources to legally bribe politicians, donate to campaigns, unlike other interest groups. It’s not complicated.”

Take-out sales of alcoholic beverages have helped bars, restaurants and other eateries stay in business as they have been forced to close or have limited customers during the coronavirus pandemic.

Cuomo’s executive tenure 202.108, which also expired at midnight, allowed craft cider and beverage producers statewide to ship their products, which also gave restaurants and distilleries a vital source of income. after suffering an average financial blow of up to 50% last year.

Small rural communities, which make up a significant portion of upstate and upstate New York, were given the option of delivery or shipping.

This has helped seniors or customers with high health risks to continue buying locally brewed and craft drinks, even when confined to their homes, said Tom Crowell, owner of Chatham Brewing in County of Columbia.

“We have a number of clients like this who still don’t feel comfortable going out in crowded spaces – now they won’t be able to do that,” Crowell said. “These are small businesses that are suffering. [To-go alcohol] was an easy way to create a new source of income.

Legislators failed to pass Bill no. A.3116, sponsored by MP Patricia Fahy, D-Albany, who reportedly extended take-out alcohol provisions for restaurants and the craft beverage industry.

“… the ability to serve alcohol to customers has served as a financial lifeline for primarily small local restaurants struggling with the disproportionate impact that the hospitality industry has continued to experience throughout the pandemic, “Fahy said in a statement Thursday. “I look forward to taking action on these issues in the Legislature with my colleagues as soon as possible. We cannot leave these industries on hold, especially now. “

Without further action, the decree authorizing take-out alcohol was due to expire on July 6 at midnight.

A recent survey showed that 78% of New Yorkers support legalizing the sale of take-out alcoholic beverages.

“The legislature has not codified the ability of restaurants to offer takeout alcohol,” said Bill Crowley, spokesperson for the State Liquor Authority, on Thursday. “With the state’s declaration of emergency expiring on Thursday, all temporary suspensions and guidelines related to the pandemic, including privileges for bars, restaurants and manufacturers to sell take-out drinks, will end after June 24. “

Bars and restaurants, in addition to manufacturers with on-site privileges, can still deliver and sell take-out beer under the state’s liquor control law.

State Liquor Authority officials stand ready to work with the legislature to finalize the measure allowing restaurants and bars to permanently allow the sale of take-out alcoholic beverages, according to the authority.

“It shows how stupid leadership is and how out of touch with what New Yorkers want,” said Dominick Purnomo, wine director and co-owner of Yono’s and an American brewery in the capital region.

Owners on Thursday blasted the day’s notice of warrant expiration and questioned why people can openly smoke marijuana in public since recreational use was legalized this spring, but can’t buy an alcoholic drink and enjoy it on the sidewalk.

“It has been working well for 16 months,” added Purnomo. “You haven’t seen a drunk driving spike or seen Mothers Against Drunk Driving go out. It makes too much sense, which is why it was not adopted.

Assembly members Didi Barrett, D-Hudson, and John McDonald III, D-Cohoes, are two of eight lawmakers co-sponsoring the bill.

McDonald expressed disappointment that the Legislature did not pass the bill to extend take-out alcohol in the state before the end of the June 10 session, and expressed shock that the governor announced rule change with one day’s notice.

“The recent decision to end the declaration of a state of emergency by the executive brings relief to some people and organizations, but the lack of advance notice has resulted in shock and financial pressure on small business restaurants in China. difficulty in our area and throughout New York state due to the sudden cessation of alcohol delivery and takeout clearance, “McDonald said in a statement Thursday.” A lot of these small businesses had already purchased additional inventory for the holidays of July 4. Unlike when they had to scramble last year before St. Patrick’s Day in 2020 due to the pandemic, this ordeal was preventable and preventable.

“This is not the way to treat small businesses, especially our restaurants, which have been deeply affected by the pandemic and are an integral part of our communities.”

Owners of restaurants, bars and distilleries on Thursday pleaded with lawmakers to vote to allow take-out alcohol if they meet again in special session this year.

McDonald’s expects a one-year take-out alcohol extension to be a priority for the legislature if lawmakers are called upon to return to Albany.

Officials in the office of Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie have not returned phone calls, texts or emails as to why the chamber has failed to push forward legislation to expand alcohol sales takeout and statewide delivery.

“The New York Senate is committed to ensuring our small businesses thrive after this horrific year and that’s why we have secured over $ 800 million for our small businesses and provided unprecedented tax credits. for our restaurants, ”Senate Majority spokesman Mike Murphy said Thursday. “We will continue to look for ways to help these businesses. “

Restaurateurs and distillers will continue to push for the legalization of take-out alcohol in future legislative sessions.

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