Sen. Borrello Seeks Liquor License Extensions

State Sen. George Borrello, R-Sunset Bay, wants the state to extend a bar or restaurant’s expired liquor licenses for a year without levying any late fees.

Borrello’s proposal, S.8994, would benefit bars and restaurants that renewed their liquor license in 2020 and give them a one-year extension.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has been absolutely devastating for our state and nation,” Borrello wrote in his legislative justification. “There is perhaps no sector hit harder by the economic shutdown than the hospitality industry. These are our neighborhood restaurants, bars and other entertainment venues, where the vast majority of these operations are locally-owned small businesses that employ tens of thousands of New Yorkers. Though they paid their fees to the state, most of these establishments remain shutdown or operating at a level far below their full capacity. This bill will provide some relief for an industry in need of assistance because of. executive orders and a pandemic beyond anyone’s control.”

A study released in September by the New York Restaurant Association found that 63.6% of restaurants are likely to close by the end of 2020 without some sort of financial relief, including 54.8% that could close by November. The restaurant association has been asking for commercial rent relief, insisting that business interruption insurance claims are paid and an increase in indoor dining capacity.

“Governor Cuomo’s leadership during these difficult times on issues such as alcohol-togo and outdoor dining has provided a lifeline for our members in the past few months. But it’s not enough. We are now asking the Governor, the state Legislature and those at the federal level to simply help us survive. Without further assistance, the restaurant industry as we know it could be gone in a New York minute,” said Melissa Fleischut, New York State Restaurant Association president and CEO.

Thus far, in New York, the legislative response to restaurants have also included:

¯ proposals (A.10695/S.8675) to allow people to have an open container of alcohol in places where bars and restaurants aren’t operating at full capacity because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

¯ a Small Business Protection Program (A.10924/S.8364A) that would include restaurants and would provide low-interest loans up to $100,000.

¯ A.10534A/S.8565 which would authorize retail licensees for on-premises consumption to sell and/or deliver alcoholic beverages for consumption off the premises, within certain size limitations, that such licensees are currently licensed to sell. A.10550/S.8392 made a similar change in the law.


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