Fate of liquor to-go in limbo as NY legislative session ends without extension

Alcohol to-go is one of the few, if not the only, thing New Yorkers fondly recall about the pandemic. Gov. Andrew Cuomo allowed restaurants and bars to offer cocktails to-go along with food orders through an executive order which he extended several times. 

"It kept us alive," said Kyly Everett, a bartender at Bedford Falls on the Upper East Side. "If it wasn't for that who knows if we would be able to stay open?"

And yet, its fate is in limbo. 

Both the New York State Senate and Assembly have separate bills prolonging alcohol to-go permanently, or with a one-year sunset provision. But the chambers didn't act on either of them, or try to agree on one measure, before the legislative session early Friday morning. 

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"We need Governor Cuomo to continue to extend the executive order so we can keep the popular alcohol to-go policy which customers love and it’s helping save so many small struggling businesses," says Andrew Rigie, Executive Director of the NYC Hospitality Alliance. 

Cuomo and state legislators also failed to pass a bill that would restructure top leadership at the MTA, as well as a criminal justice reform bill known as 'Clean Slate,' which would seal record of those with misdemeanors after three years and after seven years for people with felony records. 

In the 11th-hour assembly, Democrats claimed the 'Clean Slate' bill was poorly drafted and failed to muster the votes to pass it. 

As for the MTA, Gov. Cuomo has introduced legislation splitting the top position into two posts: a chairman and a CEO. Both would be subject to Senate confirmation. While senate Democrats appeared to be on board, the legislative session ended without a vote on that either.