Bill approves temporary liquor licenses for NYC eateries, would boost COVID recovery

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ALBANY — Big Apple watering holes scored a big win Thursday night, after the Legislature passed a bill that will allow bars and restaurants to obtain a temporary liquor license while they await final approval from the state.

Right now, only eateries outside New York City can obtain the permit to sell alcohol within 30 days of submitting an application for a permanent license to the state Liquor Authority. 

It allows them to bypass an up to six-month waiting period while the agency reviews applications before granting a full, two-year license. 

The new law — if signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo — will remove rules that critics argue put city businesses at a disadvantage.

“Being told they have to wait six months to open up is ridiculous. They’ll have to miss the summer season, the holiday season. This is a discriminatory law,” said Andrew Rigie, CEO of the NYC Hospitality Alliance, a trade organization representing nightlife and restaurant venues across the five boroughs. 

“You can get a temporary license everywhere in the state of New York except New York City and with so many vacant restaurants and landlords looking to make deals, it is putting potential small business owners out of business.

“This is going to allow new small businesses to open much more quickly, which generates tax revenue for the City and State, puts people back to work and fills these vacant buildings,” he added.

One city restaurateur who complained about the difficulty of obtaining a temporary liquor license applauded the action in Albany.

“It’s fantastic. It’s a great day. Albany did the right thing,” said Daniel Abrams, co-owner of the Mermaid Inn in the East Village.


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