'Alcohol-to-go' coming to an end in New York State

Other Half
Posted at 3:20 PM, Jun 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-23 23:15:36-04

NEW YORK (WKBW) — "Alcohol-to-go" will soon come to an end in New York State.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the state of emergency declared in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic will expire Thursday and will not be renewed.

Due to the expiration of the state of emergency, pandemic-related measures that allowed for the to-go sale of alcohol will end after Thursday.

Co-owner of the Glen Park Tavern, Ellie Grenauer, said she doesn't understand why customers can no longer take out hard alcohol or a glass of wine.

“We can sell a six-pack of beer. We can sell a bottle of wine if you have had dinner, had one glass of that bottle, and put it in a bag, and seal it with your receipt,” Grenauer said. “It’s our customers who are going to miss it. They will call for their dinner and a glass of wine. Well, now they can’t do that.”

Grenauer said typically 40 to 45 percent of the restaurant’s revenue comes from alcohol sales, but during the pandemic, alcohol sales dropped to 30 percent. Now that people can dine in at the tavern, not all the alcohol sales are to-go orders, but every cent counts during a worker shortage.

“We had to close one day a week which we have never done since we opened the business,” Grenauer said. “I may not be able to have two bartenders on. If I have people ordering alcohol to go, I’m offering that same service without having to have the staff.”

The New York State Restaurant Association previously called on the state to pass legislation to make alcohol-to-go permanent. NYSRA cited a May 2021 survey that it said revealed 78% of respondents wanted to-go alcohol sales to stay. Local restaurants were also also in favor of it becoming permanent.

The NYSRA released the following statement Wednesday:

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. 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.