If you miss to-go alcohol, blame the Legislature

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Here’s hoping you enjoyed your last chance at liquor-to-go from your local bar or restaurant. Too bad lobbyists got the Legislature to skip on making the temporary pandemic privilege into a permanent one.

Sadly, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s surprise lifting of all COVID-19 emergency mandates left the battered industry with just 24 hours to adjust, and no way to compensate for lost income and thousands of dollars of unsold booze.

But it’s the Assembly and state Senate that truly fell down, by failing to act on any of the multiple bills to extend the emergency rules first granted more than a year ago. Not matter that a poll from the New York Restaurant Association showed that 78 percent of New Yorkers want to see alcohol-to-go become a permanent fixture.

Legislative leaders took their guidance from liquor lobbyists who feared the practice would cut into their industry’s profits.

No matter that liquor stores did just fine through the lockdowns, while small restaurants still worry about survival. Over the Memorial Day weekend, 34 percent fewer people dined at a restaurant in New York state compared to the holiday in 2019 (and New York City was down 54 percent), while Connecticut saw a 50 percent jump and New Jersey 29 percent rise.

Maybe someday the Legislature will start considering the public’s desires and best interests, and stop letting the special interests rule.

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