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Liquor Authority extends ‘to go’ ordering for bars, but is that enough?

Earlier this week the New York State Liquor Authority announced the extension of rules that allowed bars and restaurants to serve alcohol on-the-go.

Both are required to shut down at 10 p.m. daily to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. In some micro-cluster zip codes they are closed for in-person consumption entirely.

The extension grants these businesses with a valid liquor license to serve through January 1st, 2021.

However, those who run bars are split on the move. Those that operate in tight-knit neighborhoods feel like it’s a way to make some money during the worst days of the pandemic. Others feel like it achieves little for their business.

“The extension of the to-go cocktails means nothing in the grand scheme of things, to be honest,” Emma Sawyer, general manager of Savoy Taproom in Rochester to 13WHAM. They are going through a second round of furloughs at this point.

Two local bar owners who spoke to but did not want to be named in this story said that business is a trickle of what it once was – even without economic restrictions in place. “They come here for the comradery,” one owner said. “Not the fancy drinks that some city bars are serving.”

Many are calling for a federal package that bails out small businesses instead of large corporations. There has also been interest at the state-level to create a sales tax-free period to help those struggling businesses. However, the state is facing a multi-billion-dollar budget deficit.