The Hochul plan would permanently allow bars and restaurants to serve alcoholic beverages to go

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New York Governor Kathy Hochul on Wednesday introduced a proposal to make the sale of alcoholic beverages to take out in restaurants and bars a permanent measure.

“We saw that it was a critical source of income,” said Hochul of Therapy Lounge in Brooklyn. “It’s what kept people afloat through the dark days and years of the pandemic. There’s a wait now. Why set us back?”

Regulatory details will be handled and reviewed by the New York State Liquor Authority, Hochul added. The agency initially opposed the idea.

Takeout alcohol sales ended in June 2021 when New York lifted a state of emergency, but restaurateurs and customers have been clamoring for the return of the popular measure ever since.

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“The regulations – and we want a lot of feedback on the regulations, that’s how we do it – will be processed and reviewed by the agency. They will be received from the public, from the industry. We want to hear the experiences of the people on how we can make this very successful,” Hochul said.

To handle the expected demand for liquor licenses, Hochul said the state would allocate $2 million to hire more people at the State Liquor Authority.

“We will almost double the numbers,” Hochul said.

Not everyone, especially liquor store owners, agreed with the take-out liquor plan.

Michael Correra, liquor store owner and executive director of the Metropolitan Package Store Association, said he was concerned take-out drinks were having a negative impact on their industry.

“This is an attack on our industry. We are all working hard to survive. We were open during the pandemic,” Correra said. “We are an essential business. I’m sorry, but that would destroy our industry.”

State lawmakers must approve the idea for it to go into effect.

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