When a horrible, far-reaching public health crisis such as the 2019 Novel Coronavirus happens, it allows governors to declare their respective states to go under a state of emergency. This, in turn, empowers the local government to perform actions or impose policies that it usually wouldn’t be permitted to undertake. Although the situation we’re in now is because of a virus that isn’t under control, you’ll see this a lot when extreme weather is on the way, or a natural disaster has happened.
When the State of New York went under a state of emergency in mid-March, one of the things Governor Andrew Cuomo did was temporarily loosen local liquor laws. With that, bars were allowed to offer to-go drinks, provided that they also offered food.
Governor Cuomo made it clear that when this amendment was introduced, it was not permanent and was only being enacted for this particular time of a public health crisis and the unprecedented demise of the hospitality industry.
But hey, you can’t make a change if you don’t ask for it, right?
A new state proposal would allow bars and restaurants to continue to sell alcohol (read: wine and cocktails) as a “to go” option, even after the pandemic ends.
The legislation was introduced by Brad Hoylman, a State Senator who represents Lower and Midtown Manhattan, late last week. It includes all the same caveats that were in the governor’s original amendment, including requirements that the booze could only be sold in sealed containers (that could be as simple as having it in cups with covers, but then putting those cups into paper bags that were then stapled), and it had to be sold with food (and yes, candy apparently counts LOL).
Several other states have allowed similar rules to be on the books during the pandemic. It’s been very popular in Florida. We got to take advantage of it when we did our wine dinner via Zoom; it included optional mixed drinks). It’s apparently been good for Texas too, From Texas Governor Greg Abbott:
As per Hoylman, the legislation is to help the state’s restaurant and bar industry. Even when lockdown in the state is over, it will take a long time for food and beverage establishments to recover. This is aimed at helping their recovery.
“If we want our favorite bars and restaurants to survive the crisis, we’ve got to help them adapt,” said Hoylman.
If it passes, the bill would allow cocktails and wine as takeout and delivery for two years. That would give local restaurants more time to recoup. Based on how well everything is going, the provisions could be extended for a longer period of time, or even become permanent.
#stayhealthy #staysafe #washyourhands
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary