Should Take-Home Restaurant Liquor Continue In New York?
Restaurants all over New York have said that the ability to offer take-home liquor basically saved their business during the coronavirus pandemic. Now, that emergency executive order looks like it might expire on March 28th unless something is done about it.
There are a few sides to this issue to look at. First, from the restaurant side, if someone orders a take-out meal and wants a couple of margaritas to go it adds to the amount on their bill and adds more money to the restaurant's bottom line. Plus, it gives them another revenue stream until things get back to normal. You can literally stop by a local restaurant and pick up a bottle of Jim Beam on your way home without finding a liquor store. That brings up the second side of the issue.
Liquor store owners are claiming that restaurants are acting like liquor stores and that's cutting into their bottom line. Well, I talked to one liquor store owner at Hellers Wine & Spirits in West Sand Lake and Mike Heller told me that they were making money hand over fist...especially during the early days of the pandemic. So, I think this is kind of a flimsy argument that restaurants are cutting into the liquor store business.
That brings us to the third side and the argument against take-out liquor from restaurants. It's adding more opportunities for drunk driving in New York. This I can understand. If you have a frosty beverage sitting in your cup holder on your way home from a restaurant, you'll be more tempted to drink and drive. One study in Colorado showed a 30% increase in DUIs during the pandemic and that was during the time where everything was shut down and everyone was staying home.
The bottom line is right now take-out booze is still legal until March 28th, according to the Times Union. There is a bill in the legislature that would extend the current take-out liquor law for two years past the end of the coronavirus pandemic. Hopefully, a decision will be made before the March 28th deadline.