State Liquor Authority Approves Expanded Outdoor Alcohol Service

Last night, the New York State Liquor Authority (SLA) released guidance on how restaurants and bars may be able to use public space to expand their service. This issue has been a priority for the NYS Restaurant Association, and is something we have had numerous conversations with the Governor's office and the SLA about over the last few weeks. This expansion will allow restaurants to get creative in how to use space while social distancing and inject much needed revenue into an industry that has been struggling. 

According to the new executive order, all licensees may use any outdoor, open-air part of its existing premises for which it has control by deed, lease, management agreement, or other agreement of control for service. Any licensee that expands its premises shall within 5 business days of doing so submit an updated diagram to the SLA at Failure to do so shall subject a licensee to disciplinary charges for illegal extension of premises. 

Also, the expansion allows for municipalities to make available any contiguous property (sidewalks, streets, etc...) for use as well during the duration of this order. If municipalities want or expect the SLA to have jurisdiction over a licensee’s operations the municipality must submit to the SLA a plan for such municipal outdoor dining areas on the following form and deliver to the SLA the written acceptance of responsibility for such Municipal Extension from each implicated licensee by also including the following form .

We expect to get more information on this issue in the coming days and will be sure to pass it along as we receive it.