Bars and restaurants in New York can no longer serve guests inside the establishment, according to regulations that took effect Monday to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus outbreak. But businesses with liquor licenses in the state are now allowed to sell alcohol for consumption at home.
The State Liquor Authority has relaxed rules to allowing restaurants, bars, wineries and distilleries to sell their alcoholic products to patrons who order takeout during the temporary shutdown period. This includes mixed drinks—provided the beverage is placed in a closed container.
The New York guidelines don’t include restrictions on the quantity of alcoholic beverages if they are in sealed containers, and all sales must be consistent with municipal open-container ordinances. Liquor-license holders can only sell what they have a license for and they can sell alcohol only during hours mandated by the local municipality.
What’s more, the sale of each container must be accompanied by a food purchase, so cocktail and wine bars without food are left out. Orders also have to be delivered by someone with a copy of the liquor license.
The restriction on all on-premises sales of alcoholic beverages and/or food took effect in New York, as well as Connecticut and New Jersey, on March 16, 2020 at 8:00 p.m. The ban, designed to encourage social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic, will continue until April 15, 2020, but may be extended or reduced depending upon the circumstances.
Thrillist on March 18 published a piece on Where to Get Take-Out or Delivery Alcohol in New York. For instance, speakeasy Please Don’t Tell will offer to-go bottled cocktails with a side of tater tots.
Other big cities may follow suit. The DC Council passed an emergency bill March 17 to let Washington restaurants offer alcohol with food deliveries and takeout. Maryland will also temporarily let some establishments deliver alcoholic beverages to citizens, though business have to qualify and be approved for the privilege.