Wanted rallies in support of the continuous sale of cocktails

New Yorkers were once again able to buy takeaway cocktails at restaurants and bars under a proposal stepped up by Gov. Katie Hochul on Wednesday, though state regulators may end up limiting the amount of alcohol and when.

Owners of restaurants and bars have called on Hochul to resume sales of alcoholic beverages that the state temporarily allowed at the start of the pandemic. The policy proved popular with customers, but ended in late June 2021.

Hochul has included the ongoing legalization of takeaway alcohol in her proposed budget, which she is finalizing with lawmakers this month. In case of public acceptance there will be an opportunity to comment on the rules of takeaway.

“Yes, there was opposition in the past, but I am ready to convey it to the people,” Hochul said. “You’ve heard from businesses, we’ve heard from consumers. And I believe that we are making very strong arguments for this to be accepted.

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Customers can still buy some drinks on the road: New York allows the sale of takeaway beer after the ban, and restaurants can also sell partially consumed bottles of takeaway wine.

But Hochula’s proposal could add more alcoholic beverages, such as cocktails and bottles of wine, and allow state spirits regulators to limit the amount and quantity of beverages that restaurants and bars can sell. State regulators may also limit the time of day for takeaway and require them to seal open beverages.

New York’s previous policy required customers to buy food as well, but Hochul suggested it was no longer necessary. “I don’t think food will be involved,” she said.

Politics in New York also allowed restaurants to sell bottles of alcohol, sparking complaints from liquor store owners.

Scott Wexler, executive director of the Empire State Association of Restaurants and Taverns, said the practice was not widespread.

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For months, liquor store owners and industry lobbyists have been pushing lawmakers to maintain restrictions on sales on the road to a pandemic.

Such critics argue that proposals to resume sales on the road will reduce the profits of liquor stores and fuel bad behavior from more drunk driving to public urination.

Stefan Calagridis, president of the state association of liquor stores, argues that the state lacks manpower to ensure that restaurants do not act as distilleries facing severe restrictions, including limited time to sell alcohol.

Calagridis said In March last year, the Albany Times Union reported that his association would support a law that allows takeaway cocktails and individual portions of wine.

Lawmakers failed to pass such a bill last year after intense lobbying by liquor store owners.

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In February this year, the New York State Association of Liquor Stores issued a statement WHAM-TV stating that “against the return of takeaway cocktails”.

The Kalagridis Association did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Wednesday.

Wexler, a representative of the restaurant and tavern industry, says the lobby of the liquor store is fearful and puts pressure on lawmakers who are afraid to harm any small business.

“Liquor stores have great emotions and they evoke great sympathy, but there are no facts to support their arguments,” Wexler said.

Wexler said liquor stores sell 85% of all wines and spirits in the state.

Hochul spokeswoman Hazel Crampton-Hayes said regulators would decide to re-allow the sale of bottles of alcohol.

Wexler said his association appreciates Hochula’s approach, which leaves specifics to regulators, but said restaurant and bar owners could live with a ban on selling bottles of whiskey or takeaway vodka.

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“We’re fighting for bottles of wine, we’re not fighting for bottles of spirits,” said Wexler, who said the goal was to recreate the dinner experience.

Andrew Riga, executive director of the NYC Hospitality Alliance, said the drinks, which could not be, provided businesses with an important revenue stream while giving New Yorkers what they want.

From July to September, New York’s restaurants, bars and fast food employed an average of about 575,000 people, according to the latest state figures. That’s less than about 690,000 for that time period in 2019.

In New York, local laws are widespread that prohibit the opening of containers of alcohol in public places.

Manhattan decriminalized alcohol use in public in 2016, although individuals may still face a summons or fine. Senator Julia Salazar, a Democrat representing part of Brooklyn, is sponsoring a bill that allows alcohol to be consumed in public places other than cars.

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