New York movie theaters are now eligible to serve liquor. The New York State Liquor Authority just ruled that exhibitors can apply for a liquor license or upgrade their existing ones. Over the pandemic, a lot of consumers got used to the creature comforts that were expanded. Now, these establishments are trying to sweeten the pot to get people to return. As of right now, theater-goers have to buy an alcoholic beverage at concessions and drink before entering the theater. There are some exceptions like Alamo Drafthouse and other cinemas where a full kitchen staff is employed. Now, not just anyone can begin handing out Fireball shots, they will have to go through the correct channels with the New York State Liquor Agency. But, fans of the movies are celebrating this as a win.
Joe Masher, chief operating officer of Bow Tie Cinemas, told Deadline that this was a "long-due and tremendous win for movie theaters across New York State... This decision will allow for historic theaters, independent cinemas, and theater circuits to responsibly sell and serve alcoholic beverages to patrons at the concession stand," he added. "Before today, a movie theater was only allowed to serve alcohol to patrons if they consumed it within a lobby cafe area or in a dine-in theater. New York State was among the last places in the country where this was still restricted."
"As moviegoers continue to return to the big screen and given the incredible economic disruption the pandemic has caused, this will help keep many independent, local theaters, particularly in upstate downtowns and commercial corridors, in business and employing local people. Cheers," he said.
New York Governor Kathy Hochul talked about removing the red tape to help business serve their customers late last year.
"Let's raise a glass to the terrific bars, restaurants, breweries and other small businesses that are a vital part of New York's economy," Governor Hochul wrote in a statement. "As we continue to fight the pandemic, we also need to make sure we protect our economy, and this legislation will cut red tape and bring more customers in the door as quickly as possible to help small businesses get back on their feet."
Senator Jessica Ramos offered, "As the latest surge has hit our city, we must remain resolute in our mission to codify tools that will help our restaurants and small business owners weather what could be another wave. By signing my bill, Gov. Hochul has thrown a lifeline to bars and restaurants in NYC. They are the fabric and life-source of our neighborhoods, and a uniform, statewide process for temporary licenses ensures that we can mediate the potentially devastating impact of a crisis."
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