Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on Wednesday signed the “brunch bill” into law that will allow alcohol to be sold Sunday mornings, ending a vestige of the old blue laws that limited commerce on Sundays.
“This law will actually stimulate the restaurant and hotel business on Sunday mornings,” Cuomo said at the Genesee Brew House tavern in Rochester. Cuomo has supported the bill as a way to increase business and tourism.
“Our challenge was to change the laws to actually facilitate business growth,” Cuomo said just before signing the bill into law.
The legislation includes several other changes including reducing the permit process and fees.
“After more than 80 years, it’s about time to bring the rules governing the sale of alcohol in line with the demands of our customers,” said Scott Wexler, of the Empire State Restaurant & Tavern Association.
“We can now accommodate our guests who want a Bloody Mary or Mimosa with their brunch or a draft beer while watching their favorite football team — European or NFL,” Wexler said. “This is good news for small businesses all across New York State.”
The law allows bars and restaurants with liquor licenses to open at 10 a.m. on Sundays, rather than the longtime starting hour of noon. Under a special permit system, bars and restaurants could also apply to open as early as 8 a.m. Sundays.
Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan (R-East Northport) said the package of bills signed into law will “help cut red tape and burdensome regulations so that more businesses can grow and thrive.”
“Small businesses and consumers throughout the state will greatly benefit from this reform of the state’s outdated blue laws that will expand Sunday brunch options,” Flanagan said.
The new law also:
- Allows taverns and restaurants outside New York City to apply for permits to open as early as 8 a.m. for up to 12 special events per year.
- Combines licenses for a single craft manufacturer to reduce paper work required for holding a wine and whiskey license.
- Allows wineries to sell wine in growlers for sale and drinking at the winery.
- Eliminates one fee and the requirement of bonding for manufacturer and wholesalers while reducing a fee for small wholesalers.
- Allows liquor stores to sell gift wrapping and gift bags.