Governor Kathy Hochul says making this COVID-era policy permanent will help keep bars and restaurants afloat.

To-Go Drinks

Anna Webber, Getty Images
Anna Webber, Getty Images

Governor Kathy Hochul continues to push for her ambitious 2025 state budget and during her tour of the Empire State, she singled out one of the few COVID-era policies that residents actually liked: to-go drinks.

The policy was implemented during the initial days of lockdown so restaurants and bars could make money despite the numerous state closures or restrictions. It granted New York taverns, bars and restaurants the ability to sell alcohol for off-premise consumption.

However, as the pandemic waned and establishments began welcoming back regulars, it brought to question if this policy would end. It actually was sunsetted in 2021, but it was brought back for a three-year extension, which was set to expire in 2025.

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The governor has since ended the speculation and emphatically said she wants the policy to stay for good.


The move was applauded by Melissa Fleischut, President and CEO of the New York State Restaurant Association, who praised in a public statement:

The entire hospitality industry is thankful that Governor Hochul once again recognizes the important role that drinks to-go has played for our businesses. From inflation to staffing challenges, our members face increasingly slim profit margins. There is a new battle each day and many will never get back the losses from the height of the pandemic. Simply put, every little bit helps. We urge the state Legislature to follow suit and make drinks to-go permanent.

The restaurant scene has reportedly been begging the governor to make the move permanent.

Not Everyone Thrilled

Gavel, Alcoholic Drink & Car Keys
Andy Dean

Although about 80 percent of New Yorkers approve of making the policy permanent, according to a recent poll, not everyone is welcoming the move.

Liquor store owners panned the move and say it will further impact their businesses. Additionally, concerned citizens have raised the possibility that the policy makes drinking and driving - as well as public drinking - more accessible.

Whose side are you on?

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