To-Go Drinks Coming Back to New York, Hochul Announces

The popular program was instituted during the early days of the first wave of coronavirus cases in 2020.

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Attention New Yorkers: to-go cocktails are coming back.

Gov. Kathy Hochul made the announcement Wednesday during her first State of the State address in Albany. The move comes as many restaurants and bars across the state have curtailed hours or shut down for periods altogether as they cope with staffing shortages and leery indoor diners thanks to the Omicron variant of the coronavirus.

“We’re also going to do something our bars and restaurants have been asking for, to once again allow the sale of to-go drinks, a critical revenue stream during the lean times last year,” she said. “So, cheers, New York.”

To-go drinks were one of the few bright spots for bars and restaurants as the state emerged from the early days of lockdown in 2020. The program was in effect until June, when state lawmakers let the emergency regulation expire.

It's not clear if the new regulation will be permanent, but it's the toast of New Yorkers' group chats and restaurant groups alike.

“Cheers to Governor Hochul for announcing her support to permanently bring back drinks to go at restaurants and bars," said Andrew Rigie, the president of the New York City Hospitality Alliance. "The drinks to go policy provides critically important revenue streams to struggling restaurants and bars and is extraordinarily popular with the public, unsurprisingly.” 

The alcohol-to-go won't come back overnight, however. Unlike when it was instituted in 2020, this time it must go through the state legislature.

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