Assemblywoman Buttenschon: State Liquor Authority Permits Outdoor Service for Businesses Adjusting to COVID-19 Restrictions

Assemblywoman Marianne Buttenschon (D-Utica/Rome) announced that, following a letter she sent to the State Liquor Authority (SLA) last month, restaurants and bars will be allowed to serve liquor to outdoor seating areas in compliance with the state’s reopening guidelines.

“Small businesses across the state have been affected by COVID-19 shutdowns, and restaurants and bars are no different,” said Buttenschon. “Hardworking business owners, who were forced to close under no fault of their own, should be given latitude to adjust their premises and business models during the reopening process. This critical change will help our beloved local restaurants and bars get back on their feet as we navigate these uncertain times together.”

During Phase 2 of reopening, restaurants can offer outdoor dining, as long as these businesses comply with social distancing and other safety guidelines.[1] In her May 4 letter to SLA Chair Bradley, Buttenschon also encouraged the state agency to offer refunds or reduced costs for liquor license holders whose businesses remain closed or are required to operate at reduced capacity. By allowing restaurants to serve alcohol in outdoor dining spaces, this necessary change will ensure restaurants can open in compliance with Phase 2 guidelines and begin to make ends meet, Buttenschon noted.