ALBANY – New York’s Governor hopes to make the popular “alcohol to-go” policies enacted during the pandemic permanent in a boost to help the hospitality industry that is still struggling to recover given staffing shortages and inflation.
“And we think about how hard the restaurant and the hospitality industry was hit during this pandemic. We lost, at one point, 64% of our workers. I mean, it was just devastating,” says Hochul.
On Wednesday, Governor Kathy Hochul made several announcements that are aimed at helping the industry get back on its feet.
“There’s a sense of pride being part of this, serving others in a very special way. So we lost a lot of those workers and how we find our way back and to re-energize this whole industry will really be a signal that New York is back, when every single restaurant that was shut down, every single bar, every single hotel, everything is back, but back even better than before,” hopes Hochul. “Understanding, again, this dynamic of human connections being so critically important to our psyche and our emotional health.”
The Governor says there will be more investment in the State Liquor Authority. Specifically, $2 million in funding will be given to hire 39 more employees, 30 of which will be dedicated exclusively to the backlog of 3,700.
Funding will also improve the infrastructure of the system, finally allowing for online applications which will significantly decrease the waiting period.
Hochul is also proposing to permanently allow bars and restaurants to sell to-go drinks.
“So, we saw that this was a critical revenue stream. This is what kept people afloat during those dark months and years of the pandemic. And we said there has been a change in people’s attitudes. There’s an expectation now. So why set us backwards?” asks Hochul. “Whether it’s that, or even the outdoor dining experiences.”
A group to look at long in place laws that are holding revenue streams back will be formed, explains the Governor, to decrease areas of red tape that become a burden to small businesses.
Though the process will take time, Hochul hopes this new revenue stream will allow small businesses, including movie theaters, to thrive in their ever-changing environment.