And most New Yorkers and businesses were disappointed when they were unexpectedly canned (no pun intended) last summer.
But luckily, there’s some good news on that front! New York Governor Hochul announced a few months back that the legislation will be returning to help local businesses. And now it’s officially official, as it was passed as part of the new FY 2023 State Budget on Thursday evening (April 7).
And the best part? It became effective as soon she signed the budget (Saturday), which means they should be returning to your favorite menus asap!
We're legalizing to-go drinks — to support small businesses and because I know we could all use a drink! pic.twitter.com/tLLMgzb512
— Governor Kathy Hochul (@GovKathyHochul) April 7, 2022
It’s all part of Hochul’s “Billion Dollar Rescue Plan” relief package to help support bars, restaurants and other small businesses who have suffered during the pandemic — and that was first shared in her State of the State address on January 5.
The new legislation actually amends the state’s Alcoholic Beverage Control Law to “authorize restaurants and bars licensed to sell liquor or wine for on-premises consumption to also sell these products for off-premises consumption.” Unlike the original proposal, the law will not be permanent, but rather will be in place for three years (until 2025).
Now that it is approved in the budget, here are some specific rules you should know:
- Bottle sales will be prohibited (as liquor stores expressed concern). The SLA states “a bottle is defined to mean the wine and/or liquor that the retailer purchases from a wholesaler in a bottle, box, can, or other similar container.”
- A “substantial” food order is required in order to enjoy your alcoholic drink to-go; examples the State Liquor Authority has shared include “sandwiches, soups or other foods, whether fresh, processed, precooked or frozen…a bag of chips, bowl of nuts, or candy alone are not [enough].”
- The drinks must be in sealed containers (all to-go containers must comply with municipal open container laws).
- Businesses (or the entity making a delivery on behalf of the business) will be responsible for ensuring the consumer has a valid ID and for verifying the consumer’s identity and age at the time of delivery.
“New York’s nightlife and hospitality industry is second to none, and by allowing the sale of to-go drinks we will continue to support the industry’s recovery from the pandemic,” Governor Hochul said.
Cheers to both Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins and Speaker Heastie for their help in making this change, which will drive business for the hospitality industry and be a lifeline, helping them comeback stronger than before.
Other related elements of the new 2023 state budget include the “Commission to Study Reform of the Alcoholic Beverage Control Law,” which will review and evaluate current NY alcohol laws to determine if any should be further “modernized or simplified” to better serve small businesses.