NY ending alcohol to-go, delivery as more COVID restrictions lift

Coronavirus

NEW YORK — New York restaurants and bars will no longer be allowed to sell alcohol through takeout or delivery orders, the State Liquor Authority announced Wednesday.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued an executive order allowing to-go and delivery alcohol last year as a temporary bandage to help restaurant owners struggling financially under the weight of COVID restrictions and lockdowns during the pandemic.

The end of the State of Emergency on Thursday will mean a return to pre-pandemic guidelines, and the lifting of “temporary pandemic-related privileges” such as alcohol to-go, according to the SLA.

Cuomo announced he would let the State of Emergency expire on Wednesday as New York continued to report a COVID positivity rate well below 1% and a decline in hospitalizations.

Melissa Fleischut, president and CEO of the New York State Restaurant Association, called for a permanent extension of alcohol to-go.

“While the lifting of the emergency order is a welcome milestone to the end of the pandemic, with it comes the sudden end to alcohol to-go. 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,” Fleischut said. “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.”

Earlier Wednesday, New York Senate Republican leader Robert Ortt welcomed Cuomo’s announcement ending the State of Emergency, calling it “long overdue news.”

“The progress we’ve made wouldn’t have been possible without thousands of front-line workers, business owners and everyday New Yorkers who sacrificed so much over the past year,” he said in a statement. “Now it is time for us to turn our undivided attention to the economic recovery and the rising crime wave devastating major metro areas all across the state.”

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