New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced that the State Liquor Authority will change its rules to allow bars, restaurants, wineries and distilleries to sell their products off premises.
As reported by Forbes, with the hospitality sector due to be hit hard by the impact of Covid-19, and New York restaurants and bars set to close at 8pm save for take-away orders, Cuomo declared the move a “silver lining” for the industry.
“Stay home and order from your favourite restaurant, order from your favourite bar, order from your favourite winery, order from whatever establishment that you were thinking of patronising,” Cuomo told Forbes.
“This is a balanced approach that protects patrons, hospitality industry workers and businesses,” said Chris Swonger, president and CEO of the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States.
“We commend New York for searching for innovative solutions that reduce risks to customers and workers, but also tries to keep the hospitality industry and its employees afloat during this difficult time.”
As of yesterday evening, the specifics of the new ruling had yet to be ironed out. It isn’t clear yet if establishments will have to sell food in order to be able to sell alcoholic drinks to go.
The majority of New York bars aren’t currently set up to be able to offer takeway drinks. Restaurants seem poised to benefit more from the ruling due to being able to offer takeaway food in addition to drinks.
It is illegal to drink in public in New York City, which puts another spanner in the works.
However, the news was enthusiastically welcomed by Little Italy wine bar, Compagnie des Vins Surnaturels, which has a successful London offshooot in Covent Garden.
“This is a ray of hope coming through. We have 6,000 bottles of wine in our cellar – rare things that you won’t find at a lot of stores, and we’re discounting it 25% right now so people can take advantage,” Caleb Ganzer, a managing partner of the bar, told Forbes.
“We’ve had an outpouring of support from friends, neighbours and loved ones, people making sure we can get through this time and be there on other side for them.”
The bar is charging $10 for delivery south of 14th Street and $25 elsewhere in Manhattan, Queens and Brooklyn. Customers can order bespoke food and wine pacakages, like the ‘First Date Starter Pack’, through the bar’s Instagram page.