Local restaurants react to alcohol-to-go extension

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ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Alcohol-to-go in New York State has once again been extended. The new extension lasts until June 5. Local restaurant owners are happy about it, and they’re hopeful the state can make the extension longer.

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, cocktails-to-go has been the new norm for restaurants. Currently, New York’s alcohol to-go executive order extension needs to be renewed every 2-4 weeks.

“We look forward to try to keep this thing going for as long as possible because we’re going to need this moving forward,” says Patrick Noonan, Owner of El Loco Mexican Cafe and Chairman of the Lark Street BID.

Capital Region lawmakers, including Assemblymembers Patricia Fahy and John McDonald are working with local restaurant owners on a bill that would allow this extension to last for two years.

“I think this creates some stability which is very much needed right now in the way things have been. I really think this is a necessary bill for not only our industry but for the State of New York,” says Dominick Purnomo, Owner of Yono’s & Director of the New York Restaurant Association.

“This is an opportunity for people to still support their local restaurant and yes be able to have professionally make cocktails to-go along with their dinner,” says Assemblymember John McDonald.

Lawmakers say there’s been push back from liquor stores and beer distributors. “It’s not intended to have cases of wine going out the door or selling bottles of gin or vodka by any stretch of the imagination. It’s pre-made drinks. If you want to order a cosmopolitan ahead with your chicken parmesan — you can order that to go along with it. There’s a limit,” says Assemblymember McDonald.

“110,000 restaurants have closed in the United States. How many liquor stores have closed? I don’t think nearly as many. One industry is vastly more affected than the other,”says Purnomo.

“I understand the liquor store’s opposition because it’s a slippery slope. If we get our way, what’s next? We are understanding of their point of view, but this is more about survival…This is about staying in business,” says Noonan.

The extension will last until June 5, five days before the end of legislative session. Assemblymember McDonald is hopeful the bill will get passed before then. “It’s our hope to get it out of the committee in the next week or so, and to put it up for a vote and let the legislators represent their constituents on how they feel about it,” says Assemblymember McDonald.

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