NY restaurants want pandemic liquor rules to be permanent

As New York's legislative session winds down to its last weeks, restaurants and bars are urging lawmakers to take action on legislation that they say will keep their businesses alive after the pandemic's economic fallout.

One bill would allow the sale of alcohol to go. The service was allowed through executive order by Gov. Andrew Cuomo but it's not permanent. 

Dan McLaughlin, the owner of The Pony Bar on the Upper East Side, said this service has been a lifeline.

"Customers will come in and say, 'Can I get a margarita or vodka mule to go?' We'll do it in real-time and it's proven really popular," McLaughin said. "It's a great addition to our revenue stream that we didn't have before the pandemic."

A second bill would allow alcohol service to continue outdoors. The NYC Hospitality Alliance said this is crucial as customers gain confidence to return to their favorite spots.  

NY outdoor dining curfew ends; restaurants seek permanent changes

"We are making outdoor dining permanent — we need a state law that is going to allow that to be done permanently," Executive Director Andrew Rigie said.

McLaughin said that his eight outdoor tables have been amazing for business.

"Without the outdoor pavilion — we call it The Stable — I would have been out of business by now, unfortunately," McLaughlin said.

NYC Hospitality Alliance is also calling on state lawmakers to allow faster, temporary liquor licenses so the industry can quickly rebound.

"So they can open a new business and storefronts in about 30 days instead of now having to wait four to six months, which hurts small business owners who don't have that capital," Rigie said.

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