Gov. Kathy Hochul on Saturday signed legislation related to alcoholic...

Gov. Kathy Hochul on Saturday signed legislation related to alcoholic beverage laws, that among other measures, extends the Sunday sales hours at New York liquor and wine stores. Credit: Howard Schnapp

Liquor and wine stores will be allowed to open earlier and close later on Sundays, according to legislation Gov. Kathy Hochul signed Saturday.

The law is among a series of measures aimed at rolling back antiquated laws related to alcohol and its sales across the state, according to proponents of the new legislation.

Liquor and wine stores can now open their doors at 10 a.m. and turn the lights out at 10 p.m., putting them on par with bars and restaurants, according to bill sponsor Assemb. Harry Bronson (D-Rochester).

The old law allowed sales in those stores from noon to 9 p.m.

Extending hours for brick-and-mortar stores in the alcoholic beverage industry expands sale opportunities while giving consumers more options to buy liquor and wine on the weekend, according to Hochul.

"Across New York, breweries, distilleries and other alcoholic beverage businesses are creating jobs and expanding economic opportunity,” Hochul said in a statement. “I'm proud to sign this legislation that will modernize the laws governing the sales of alcoholic beverages in New York.”

Stefan Kalogridis, president of the New York State Liquor Association, which represents retailers upstate, said the association accepts the measures after initially remaining neutral because not all its members supported them.

“We’re OK with it,” Kalogridis said Saturday.

He added that he doesn't believe the extended hours will generate more profit for retailers but likely will help consumers. 

"Will it make us more money? No, it's more for convenience," Kalogridis said. 

In Medford, Pope Wines and Liquors manager Kevin Farrell said Saturday he believes the change will hurt smaller businesses.

“A big store can stay open all the hours it wants," Farrell added. "Some of these smaller stores, it's just the owner and his wife or just one or two employees, so how are they supposed to stay open longer?"

In Island Park, Pop's Wine and Spirits manager Gary Johanning said he doesn't believe the legislation will generate more sales at the business.

"If we stay open additional hours it’s just going to cost us," he added in part.

Addiction specialist Jeffrey Reynolds, president and CEO of Family & Children’s Association in Garden City, said he’s not opposed to the legislation but worried about whether the state is doing enough to address alcohol abuse that has soared since the pandemic started.

“This is one of a series of steps that the governor has taken to increase access to alcohol and so in and of itself, it’s not the end of the world. But when you take some of these steps and link them up with the current situation we're in now, I worry that we're not doing folks any favors,” Reynolds said.

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