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Hochul Says Drinks-to-Go to Make a Return

Alcoholic beverages will soon be available for takeout and delivery (Roman Kraft via Unsplash)

Jan. 7, 2022 By Michael Dorgan

Drinks-to-go will be making a comeback.

Governor Kathy Hochul announced Wednesday that alcoholic beverages will soon be available for takeout and delivery, marking the return of a provision that was popular for struggling bars and restaurants during the height of the pandemic.

“We’re… going to do something bars and restaurants have been asking for,” Hochul said during her first State of the State address Wednesday. “To once again allow the sale of to-go drinks, a critical revenue stream during the lean times last year.”

The temporary measure ended on June 24, 2021, having been in place for around 15 months to help sustain bars and restaurants. Both the New York State Senate and Assembly had introduced bills that would have extended to-go cocktails for at least another year, but neither legislative body had brought them to a vote before the end of the legislative session on June 10.

The provision had proven crucial for many establishments — particularly at the beginning of the pandemic — after they were ordered closed for in-person patronage as part of the state’s lockdown strategy to help stop the spread of the virus. It became less vital to the survival of bars as capacity limits were lifted.

Governor Kathy Hochul, pictured, has announced that alcoholic beverages will soon be available for takeout and delivery (Photo by Darren McGee, Office of Governor Kathy Hochul)

Nevertheless, Hochul touted the measure as an important factor in reviving the battered industry — although she did not give a timeline as to when the provision will return.

She also said bar and restaurants would soon be able to get a tax credit to purchase heaters and seating for outdoor dining purposes, to help them generate some much-needed cash.

“So many small businesses were pushed to the brink,” Hochul said. “Thousands of bars and restaurants – the souls of our neighborhoods – have had to close.”

The news of the pending return of to-go drinks was welcomed by many bar and restaurant operators, including Nick Murphy, owner of Bar 43 in Sunnyside.

“It is definitely good for the industry and it’s not going to infringe on liquor stores losing out on sales,” Murphy said. “It’s great for bars that specialize in cocktails.”

Murphy said that the measure would help, although it would not have a major impact on his bottom line.

He also said that is difficult for many establishments to offer to-go cocktails at present since there is a shortage of cups in which to serve them in. Many bars, he said, are unable to get them.

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20 Comments

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You don't live here

Who’s this “we?” All your posts are about how you left. You’re an outsider looking in. Also Queens does not have a new DA 😂

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Jess

Gov should of been holding a to go cup in the cold and snow outside on her way to the subway after leaving her office in NYC and wearing a double mask like she tells us to do for a gif.

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Joy

Can you drink outside or will bars again be forced to shoo their own customers across the street like 2020?

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Tamara

What about being able to order restaurant food and drinks using SNAP? I am tired of frozen food and soda.

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Hakeem

Pretty soon the Gov will be smoking pot on tv instead of sipping an alcoholic drink to get tourists to visit and NYers to stay.

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Mike

Leave your cocktail at the bar, but please enjoy your giant blunt as you proceed to the next bar.

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Bela

Definitely make this a permanent thing. Win for customers and restaurant/bars. NYC should create several 24/7 bar districts, too. All for that. Why not. You need alcohol to live in this city. Covid Mandates and fear are real depressing around here.

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Ella

Yes, as far as I’m concerned, there is no reason why the program shouldn’t come back. You’re either buying alcohol to-go from the liquor store, etc., or having them delivered (if you’re not dining out). Safer all around as you’re not drinking when dining out so there is lower risk (assuming you don’t get into your vehicle while intoxicated after the fact) of you driving home when having too much to drink while at a bar or restaurant. Not to mention this is better for the state’s tax coffers as custom-prepared drinks cost more per ounce than folks would be paying if they bought ingredients to make their own stuff.

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Carol

Last time that happened because indoor dining was banned and there were no dining structures outside. That is not the case this time. Just legalize public intoxication and alcohol consumption.

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Kim

So basically people will once again congregate outside of restaurants and bars and get drunk, take up the sidewalk, get loud and obnoxious and continue to ruin quality of life in this city.

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Just two weeks to flatten the curve.

Expect politicians to micromanage your lives from now on and the ever-shifting goalposts. (For your own good of course.)

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Longislander

Great, public drunkenness is promoted by the state. With the way hipsters imbibe, we are are in for a wild time.

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