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78% of New Yorkers want to keep ‘cocktails to go,’ poll says

78% of New Yorkers want to keep 'cocktails to go,' poll says

They want “cocktails to go” to stay!

Nearly 80 percent of New Yorkers want to keep a pandemic-era rule allowing booze takeout and delivery at bars and restaurants, according to a new survey released Monday by the New York State Restaurant Association.

Some 78 percent of 700 New Yorkers polled support the rule — and its popularity grows to 81 percent among respondents in the Big Apple and 79 percent of Long Islanders. Upstate, the measure had support from 72 percent.

“Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, struggling restaurants were able to boost sales and keep doors open through the ability of selling alcoholic beverages with their orders. The same relief that was once needed at the height of the pandemic is still needed now,” Melissa Fleischut, president and CEO of the restaurant association, said in a statement.

“The restaurant industry needs stability now more than ever, and by making ‘alcohol-to-go’ permanent we can encourage a strong recovery. It’s popular with operators and customers alike. The numbers don’t lie.”

The poll was conducted from May 14 until May 20 online by the national polling firm Public Opinion Strategies.

A bartender selling a to-go drink  at a bar in Bushwick, Brooklyn on April 2, 2020.
A bartender selling a to-go drink at a bar in Bushwick, Brooklyn on April 2, 2020.
Photo by Stephanie Keith/Getty Images)

The take-out tipples were first implemented a year ago under an executive order signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo to help stave off economic losses at eateries heavily impacted by the COVID-19 shutdown and restrictions.

But the rule must be extended every 30 days — and presently needs to be reupped on June 5, or else it will expire.

Meanwhile, capacity restrictions for indoor and outdoor dining in the Empire State have largely been lifted — although businesses are still supposed to enforce a 6-foot social distancing rule for non-vaccinated patrons. A midnight curfew on Gotham’s indoor dining scene is slated to lift on May 31.

Albany lawmakers have introduced several bills that would keep the popular to-go cocktails alive post-pandemic, but over the last year the liquor store industry has has complained that pro-restaurant legislation would permanently harm retail sales.

People enjoying take-out drinks in the Upper East Side on May 16, 2020.
People enjoying take-out drinks in the Upper East Side on May 16, 2020.
Christopher Sadowski

One proposal introduced by Brooklyn Assemblyman Steve Cymbrowitz would require all booze to be sold with a meal — and set serving limits for off-site wine, mead and liquor consumption.

It also requires sales in sealed containers and bans the sale of full bottles.

The measure cleared the state Assembly Economic Development Committee on Monday and has been transferred to the Codes Committee. It does not have a companion bill in the state Senate.

Data from the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States shows at least 13 other states plus Washington D.C. have passed bills making the idea permanent so far.

About the author

Evan Lewis

With a knack for storytelling, Evan started News Brig about a year ago. Covering substantial topics under the Sports,, he helps information seep in deeper with creative writing and content management skills.

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