Survey: most New Yorkers want to-go alcohol to stay permanently

Posted at 5:04 AM, May 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-24 05:05:01-04

ALBANY, N.Y. (WKBW) — A new survey out Monday shows that a vast majority of New Yorkers want to-go alcohol sales to become a permanent fixture for restaurants.

The move to allow restaurants to sell alcohol for takeout or delivery came in the early weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, struggling restaurants were able to boost sales and keep doors open through the ability to sell alcoholic beverages with their orders," said Melissa Fleischut, President and CEO of the New York State Restaurant Association. "The same relief that was once needed at the height of the pandemic is still needed now."

Here's what the survey found:

The NYSRA polled about 700 people between May 14 and May 20.

  • 78% of respondents would like the "Alcohol To-Go" program to stay.
  • 96% of New Yorkers who have purchased alcohol-to-go with takeout or a food delivery say they are in strong support of the executive order becoming permanent.
    • Those respondents said they ordered alcohol-to-go an average of about 13 times in the last year
    • 71% have ordered an alcoholic beverage to go in the last month
  • 91% of respondents believe restaurants play a vital role in their community's economy and helping the restaurant industry should be a high priority for state leaders.
  • Across the board, a majority of respondents in New York's major regions are for keeping to-go alcohol.
    • 81% of New York City respondents are in favor
    • 79% of Long Island respondents are in favor
    • 83% of respondents in the New York City suburbs (Nassau, Rockland, Suffolk and Westchester Counties) are in favor
    • 72% of upstate respondents are in favor

The push for permanent "Alcohol To-Go" has been ongoing for the last year.

In June, Erie County Legislator Minority Leader Joe Lorigo proposed making to-go alcohol a permanent fixture in Erie County. It received unanimous support from the county legislature.

Lorigo said the resolution he proposed went hand-in-hand with open container laws the county was already looking into at the time and had even started a petition to garner more support for to-go alcohol sales becoming permanent.

In April 2021, the state relaxed restrictions on purchasing alcohol, making it so that patrons no longer needed to buy food in order to buy alcohol.

The current executive order expires on June 5.