Restaurants, officials call on NY to make alcohol-to-go permanent in upcoming state budget

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- As New York State officials and the Restaurant Association mark two years of COVID-19 pandemic hardship, they are amplifying their calls for alcohol-to-go sales to become permanent.

State Senator Jessica Ramos and Assemblymembers Nily Rozic, Catalina Cruz and Jessica González-Rojas were joined by the New York State Restaurant Association (NYSRA) and local restaurant owners.

They want the state legislature to make alcohol-to-go permanent in the final 2022-2023 fiscal year budget.

The event also marked the two-year anniversary of New York State on PAUSE, the emergency orders that shuttered all restaurants at the beginning of the pandemic.

Under New York's state of emergency during the COVID-19 pandemic, restaurants and bars were allowed to sell alcoholic beverages to-go.

A survey conducted by the state association in May 2021 found more than 78% of New Yorkers support alcohol-to-go becoming permanent.

However, once the emergency order ended, so did the policy allowing restaurants and bars to continue what the association called a "needed and reliable revenue stream."

Pre-pandemic, New York's thriving restaurant industry stimulated $4B in tax revenue for the state and alcohol-to-go will play a key role in building back revenue.

The state's final budget must be approved by March 31, 2022.

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