Senator Patrick M. Gallivan (R-C-I, Elma) is co-sponsoring legislation (S.589A) that would legalize alcohol-to-go as a way to help restaurants and eateries recover from financial losses suffered during the coronavirus pandemic. Gallivan is urging leaders of the Senate and Assembly to convene a special session of the legislature to pass the bill this summer.
For nearly a year, restaurants were allowed to sell alcoholic beverages with takeout food orders after the state waived regulations under the pandemic-related state of emergency. The governor’s recent decision to lift the state of emergency means restaurants are once again prohibited from selling alcohol to go.
“Allowing restaurants to sell alcohol for off-site consumption proved to be critical for many businesses by providing another source of revenue while operating under what were otherwise severe COVID-restrictions,” Senator Gallivan said. “As the restaurant industry continues to struggle, we should extend the alcohol-to-go provision indefinitely and I urge my colleagues to act on this bill as soon as possible.”
The legislation would allow retailers that are licensed for on-premises consumption, such as bars and restaurants, to sell alcohol for consumption off the premises, with certain restrictions. The alcohol must be purchased with food and packaged in a closed, sealed container. No full bottles of wine or liquor can be sold.
Over the past year, New York’s food service industry has lost billions of dollars in sales and more than 500,000 restaurant employees have been laid off or furloughed.