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Cuomo to continue 'cocktails to go' program for restaurants, bars 

Bottled cocktails to-go at Bakuto in Lindenhurst.

Bottled cocktails to-go at Bakuto in Lindenhurst. Credit: Yvonne Albinowski

ALBANY — Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo will extend the popular use of “cocktails to go” offered by restaurants and taverns trying to operate under restrictions intended to halt the spread of the coronavirus, a spokesman said Friday.

The measure, which allows takeout of alcoholic drinks including wine and beer for home consumption, has been in place since March 17. It was scheduled to expire Saturday.

“We understand the positive impact this has had for businesses during this trying time and we intend to renew this option in an upcoming executive order,” said Cuomo senior adviser Rich Azzopardi on Friday.

The extension was welcomed news for businesses seeking to capture as much summer trade as possible under Cuomo’s executive orders , which are reopening the state’s economy after most trade was shuttered to ward off spread of the virus.

“By extending cocktails to-go, Governor Cuomo will provide a critical lifeline to local hospitality businesses that continue to struggle with the devastating impacts of COVID-19,” said Jay Hibbard of the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States. “This extension will give additional stability to restaurants and bars.”

Last month, Sen. Brad Hoylman (D-Manhattan) proposed continuing the cocktails-to-go exception to the state liquor law for two years after COVID-19 crisis ends.

“If we want our favorite bars and restaurants to survive the crisis, we’ve got to help them adapt,” Hoylman said. “My new legislation will allow bars and restaurants to provide beer, wine and cocktails for take-out and delivery for two years after the crisis ends, giving these establishments a much-needed lifeline while New York slowly returns to normal.”

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