NY state of emergency is over, but restaurant owners and drivers are not thrilled

New York News

CAPITAL REGION, N.Y. (NEWS10) — New York’s state of emergency has come to a close, but it’s not all good news for restaurant owners and drivers. Many say the state failed to pass legislation this past session that could help them make more money.

As the clock strikes midnight on Thursday, it’s the last call for alcohol to-go and expired licenses and registrations. Under the lifting of the State of Emergency, motorists have to immediately renew licenses and registrations or face fines and penalties.

Local business owners are teaming up, hoping to make alcohol to go a permanent program.

“Restaurants have used this to survive these last 16 months,” said Dominick Purnomo, owner of Yono’s Restaurant and dp An American Brasserie.

Disappointed, outraged and aggravated are the only words local beverage manufacturers, distributors, and bar and restaurant owners have left to say.

“People can’t walk around with a cocktail, but they can walk around smoking weed now in New York state,” said Vic Christopher, owner of the Clark House Hospitality.

“I think it’s a fairness issue. We should give them one more year to reassess and let’s let this industry recover,” said Assemblymember Patricia Fahy.  

Their anger is aimed at the New York State Legislature, which did not a pass a bill to extend alcohol to-go. Assemblymember Fahy says she will continue to fight for alcohol to-go.

“This is not promoting any kind of irresponsible action, this is ordering a drink or two with a dinner order,” she said.

Rensselaer County Clerk Frank Merola is not happy with New York State’s lifting of the COVID State of Emergency in regard to expired licenses and registrations. He believes the state should give additional time to drivers because many DMV offices are still doing appointment only.

Merola says many County Clerks are supporting a three-week grace period until July 15 for drivers to renew, citing other pressing issues faced by New Yorkers during this post-pandemic time.

“So, if you were to live in Albany County and you decide that you have to go renew your driver license, you’re going to wait two weeks before you can even get in,” said Merola. 

As the state tries to build back the economy, businesses believe what has been working is now being taken away.

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