Grabbing A Boozy Beverage On The Sidewalk Reinstated In New York

(VanderWolf Images /

Font Size:

Democratic New York Gov. Kathy Hochul announced Wednesday that she will be reinstating the “Drinks-To-Go” initiative that allowed bars and restaurants to serve take-out alcohol.

During her first State of the State Address, Hochul acknowledged the struggles forced upon the restaurant industry during the pandemic, resulting in a number of closures.

“Thousands of bars and restaurants – the souls of our neighborhoods – have had to close,” she said. “For others, hanging on by a thread, survival depends on whether they can create more space outdoors, a tough task during our New York winters.”

“We’re also going to do something bars and restaurants have been asking for,” she continued. “To once again allow the sale of to-go drinks.” The governor also referred to the initiative as a “critical revenue stream” for restaurants and bars during the pandemic. (RELATED: The Average Person In New York City Spends More Than $120,000 On Alcohol In A Lifetime)

“Drinks-To-Go” initiative came to an end in June of 2021, after New York State ended its state of emergency. According to ABC7, Melissa Fleischut, President and CEO of the New York State Restaurant Association, claimed a permanent extension of the initiative was supported by 78% of New Yorkers, but the Legislature failed to renew it.

“While the lifting of the emergency order is a welcome milestone to the end of the pandemic, with it comes the sudden end to alcohol to go,” Fleischut said. “A permanent extension of alcohol to go is supported by 78% of New Yorkers, but the Legislature failed to extend it and now the Executive Order has ended.”

“Only in New York would elected officials ignore an overwhelming majority of the public… New York State must do more to help, not hurt, our restaurant industry,” she said.

The New York City Hospitality Alliance echoed similar sentiments at the time, stating that many businesses had come to rely on the alcohol-to-go service, ABC7 reported. (RELATED: ‘Trying To Stay Afloat’: New York City Hospitality Groups Speak Out Against Cuomo’s COVID Restrictions)

But according to the New York Post, following the governors address, a number of associations came out to support the decision.

Lisa Hawkins, spokesperson for the Distilled Spirits Council, said the initiative would greatly benefit New York’s hospitality industry.

“Recovery is going to take some time and making cocktails-to-go permanent will provide these businesses with a stable revenue source as they begin to bounce back,” Hawkins stated.

The New York Restaurant Association said they were “thrilled” by the governors decision, reported the New York Post.

“Governor Hochul has listened to New Yorkers,” said Melissa Fleischut. “We will fight with her to allow alcoholic beverages with takeout and delivery.”

In addition to reinstating “Drinks-To-Go”, a tax credit will be provided to businesses that make COVID-related purchases, such as outdoor heaters and seating.

“Families, small business owners, farmers – they all need our help,” said the governor. “They need it now and they’re going to get it.”