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Restaurants plead for to-go alcohol to become permanent in New York State

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Posted at 9:00 PM, Jun 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-13 21:00:19-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — COVID-19 restrictions have posed a number of challenges for restaurants and now, some fear that fighting chance is being diminished by a new era of issues.

"We can't find anybody to come to work. If you think about it, the busier we become, the more overworked our staff becomes, the less they want to do it," said Jimmy Butera, Owner, Butera's Craft Beer and Craft Pizza.

Combine that with the rising cost of food.

"Right now we're facing the great wing shortage of 2021 with prices rising. We're trying to do everything we can to keep our prices down," said Michael Rizzo, Vice President of Operations, Sports City Pizza Pub.

As our food and take out containers go up, the one consistent price is are beer, wine and liquor sales. That's why countless restaurant owners want to-go alcohol to become permanent.

"Our biggest profit margin is in alcohol and beer. It's no secret the food end of things are a lot higher on price points," said Butera.

The New York State Restaurant Association has called for the state legislature to make to go alcohol sales permanent, but instead, to-go sales were only extended to July 5.

"It's a great let down to the restaurants in New York State. Studies showed 78% of voters think it's a good idea to keep it," said Butera.

And restaurant owners say keeping to go alcohol sales could be just what they need to rebound from pandemic struggles.

"For what reason are we not extending this opportunity to recover the losses that we've had to face? One in five restaurants are closing at a rate right now. Why can we not get more of that help? More of that assistance to be able to get back on track?" said Rizzo.