2 FEBRUARY 24, 2022 RIDGEWOOD TIMES WWW.QNS.COM
Hospitality leaders urge return of to-go alcoholic beverages
BY JULIA MORO
Restaurant owners and community
leaders came together at
Neir’s Tavern in Woodhaven
on Wednesday, Feb. 16, to urge the
state Legislature to bring back takeout
alcoholic beverages permanently.
All across the state, legislators and
members of the hospitality industry
held press conferences to call on state
lawmakers to fi nally pass legislation
that would bring back to-go drinks.
These press conferences took place
simultaneously as the budget subcommittee
held a hearing on economic
development today to show the overwhelming
support for this legislation
as a way to stimulate the economy.
Hochul announced in her State
of the State address last month that
she fully supports reviving takeout
drinks from bars and restaurants,
which the state temporarily enacted
to keep businesses afl oat during the
height of the pandemic. However, legislators
and the hospitality industry
are facing an uphill battle to make this
Previous eff orts to bring back the
pandemic policy by state lawmakers
last spring failed due to staunch opposition
from liquor store lobbyists.
This legislation set off a debate over
who should be bringing alcohol to the
masses outside their establishment:
liquor stores or bars and restaurants.
Loycent Gordon, owner and CEO of
Neir’s Tavern, stressed the need for
this legislation as many businesses
like his own are still struggling.
“The pandemic amplifi ed the need
for temporary fi xes that would serve
a short-term purpose,” Gordon said.
“What many forget is that the eff ects
of this pandemic are now long term,
and the once-temporary fi xes have
become new constants.”
During the most recent omicron
surge, Gordon said that he could
have signifi cantly benefi ted from the
additional revenue that to-go drinks
“I myself have suffered tremendously
trying to navigate rent that
was tripled and trying to fi ght back all
those increasing expenses,” Gordon
said. “Drinks-to-go has been embraced
by all. It was wildly successful and
works for both restaurants and consumers.
The time is now to make this
temporary fi x a long-term solution.
This is our last shot.”
Despite misinformation from liquor
store lobbyists, the bill would not allow
restaurants and bars to sell full
bottles of wine and spirits. The bill
also requires that customers purchase
a meal with the sale of a cocktail
or glass of wine to go.
A survey conducted by the New
York State Restaurant Association in
2021 found that 78% of New Yorkers
support permanent to-go alcoholic
Melissa Fleischut, the president and
CEO of the NYS Restaurant Association,
said that the time to get this done
is now and state legislators must get
“Governor Hochul’s proposal makes
clear the Executive Chamber’s commitment
to supporting the economic
recovery of the restaurant industry,”
Fleischut said. “New Yorkers overwhelmingly
support this policy and
it falls to the Legislature to stand with
restaurants who have faced unprecedented
economic hardships since the
beginning of the pandemic.”
Restaurant owners and community leaders came together at Neir’s
Tavern in Woodhaven on Wednesday, Feb. 16, to urge the state
Legislature to bring back takeout alcoholic beverages permanently.
Photo by Andrew Mangini
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