Governor wants alcohol to-go law to stay in place

Governor wants alcohol-to-go law to remain in place

Governor wants alcohol-to-go law to remain in place

A COVID-era state law allowing restaurants and bars to serve alcoholic drinks to go to customers across New York could become permanent, if a proposal by Governor Kathy Hochul is included in the next state budget.

With the law set to expire in April 2025, Hochul says she is committed to including an amendment in the next state budget that would make the policy permanent — a decision some patrons Saturday said is a great idea.

Tara Custura — who was celebrating her 30th birthday with friends at Exchange Sports Bar in Corn Hill on Saturday night — said alcohol to go makes sense given where she lives and works.

“We live in a neighborhood that has a lot of restaurants and bars that don’t have a lot of late hours,” Custura said.

Custura says keeping alcohol to go around means offering customers more options.

“Just put that in a to-go cup and take it back to our apartment, versus rushing it and spending more money than we usually would. Like you feel like you get your money’s worth,” she said.

This week, Hochul proposed a permanent extension of the policy put in place during the pandemic to help keep businesses such as bars afloat.

Sarah Carmichael also hopes the policy stays in place.

“I work in the restaurant industry, so I think that including that would be extremely beneficial to restaurants across the board. I think that will really increase profit. A lot of people who order things to go would really like a beverage as well instead of sitting in a bar,” Carmichael said.

But even if the policy is made permanent, there are still exceptions.

For one, to-go drinks are only available to customers who are served “substantial food” at a bar or restaurant. Also, the to-go beverage must be provided in a sealed container.

“No one is saying walk around the street with a cup of open alcohol. They are saying take your alcohol to go. Nowadays you are spending 14 dollars on a cocktail. You don’t want to have to chug it. Enjoy it to go,” Custura said.

The governor hope to have the law permanent when the budget is finalized in March.

Bar owners News10NBC spoke with Saturday declined to comment on the governor’s proposal to make alcohol to-go permanent.