Cheers New York! Governor To Legalize 'To-Go' Alcoholic Drinks

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Andrew Rigie, executive director of the New York Hospitality Alliance, says that restaurants and bars face COVID-related unique problems.
Andrew Rigie, executive director of the New York Hospitality Alliance, says that restaurants and bars face COVID-related unique problems.

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul announced Wednesday that she wants to legalize consumers taking home alcoholic beverages from bars and restaurants as part of the state’s economic recovery plans for 2022.

As part of her first State of the State address to the New Yorkers, Hochul praised the move as a critical source of revenue for bars and restaurants, which began during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. The provision lapsed in June 2021, but now the governor wants to go ahead and make it permanent as New York continues down the road to recovery. 

“Cheers, New York!” Hochul wrote on Twitter with a GIF of her raising a glass. "We're going to once again allow the sale of to-go drinks – a critical revenue stream during the lean times last year."

The New York City Hospitality Alliance, a trade group that represents a number of the city's restaurants and bars, praised Hochul for committing to legalizing the practice. The group said in a tweet that it would continue to work together with the state legislature in order to put a law into place and pass it this year. 

"The drinks to go policy provides critically important revenue streams to struggling restaurants and bars and is extraordinarily popular with the public, unsurprisingly," the group said on its Twitter account. 

"We commend Governor Hochul for her leadership, and we look forward to toasting her administration and the state legislature once this important policy is reinstated."

The drinks to go initiative was only one of the measures Hochul said that she would be pushing in her first full year as governor. In her address, Hochul detailed plans for a small business lending program, a tax credit on COVID-related purchases for equipment like outdoor seating by bars and restaurants, and new investments in areas like clean energy.

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