NYC Lawmaker Wants Alcohol Takeout, Deliveries To Continue After COVID-19 Crisis Ends

Lynda Lopez
May 22, 2020 - 4:46 pm

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    NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — When New York's PAUSE order closed non-essential businesses when the coronavirus pandemic hit the city, restaurants and bars were allowed to remain open for takeout and delivery, even offering wine, beer and cocktails to go.

    State Sen. Brad Hoylman, of Manhattan, says the city needs to keep that rule going for two years after the lockdown is lifted.

    "Well we've seen our hospitality industry under enormous economic pressure because of the COVID-19, in fact they were under enormous pressure even before the pandemic," he tells WCBS 880's Lynda Lopez. "According to a recent report from New York City, restaurant revenues have declined by nearly 90% as soon as the PAUSE regulations took effect and this has led to closures all across my Senate district, in the heart of Manhattan, of large and small restaurants, bars and other favorite neighborhood spots that my constituents have loved for decades."

    Under Hoylman's legislation, bars, restaurants, wineries, breweries, distilleries and other licensed establishments would be allowed to sell alcoholic beverage in closed and sealed containers for takeout and delivery, to be accompanied with the purchase of food.

    The bill would also require the State Liquor Authority to conduct regular outreach to municipalities and community boards to solicit their comments. The SLA would be allowed to hold hearings to decide whether to suspend or revoke a licensee’s ability to sell alcoholic beverages for off-premises consumption in response to complaints. 

    "I've heard tremendous support from my local restaurateurs and bar owners and I think they're looking at government to be innovative and continue the governor's plan to allow these types of deliveries is part of that," Hoylman said. "We're talking about businesses that have the slimmest of margins to stay above water and by giving them a little boost over the next two years, we're going to allow these businesses to survive the crisis and hopefully thrive after it passes."

    Hoylman said the Senate is also looking at measures to help small businesses make their leases as well as keep them from eviction.

    "We had that problem even before the pandemic, where you've seen countless, it seems, empty storefronts across parts of the city and particularly in my district in the heart of Manhattan so by protecting these small businesses, like restaurants and bars, from eviction will keep our neighborhoods vibrant too and I know that's an issue that concerns a lot of my colleagues as well as me," Hoylman said.

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