Temporary Liquor Permit Expansion
The NYC Hospitality Alliance has been advocating to the amend the Temporary Liquor Permit law that we successfully got enacted a couple of years ago to make thousands of more locations in New York City that are not currently eligible for Temporary Liquor Permits to become eligible.
Today, we report great news, Senator Ramos and Assemblymember Epstein introduced legislation that will amend the Temporary Liquor Permit law to allow more premises to get one, and we issued the below press release with support from elected officials and business group leaders.
The NYC Hospitality Alliance will now advocate for the State Legislature to pass this legislation and for the Governor to sign it into law ASAP.
We thank Senator Ramos and Assemblymember Epstein for their support and we’ll keep you updated as these bills advance through the legislative process.
READ OUR PRESS RELEASE TO LEARN MORE
Business Groups and Government Leaders Announce Support for Temporary Liquor License Expansion
January 22, 2024 – Business groups and government leaders today announced their support for a bill [8427-A (Epstein) / S8203 (Ramos)] that would remove a pandemic-era requirement that premises in New York City must have had a liquor license within the past two years to be eligible for a temporary liquor permit, which if enacted will expand eligibility for a program that’s successfully proven to help restaurants open faster and fill vacant storefronts, employ people sooner, and start generating tax revenue earlier without compromising on community engagement.
“This legislation will clear the way for further investment in New York City’s restaurants and bars. It significantly reduces the time to begin serving alcohol from about a year to, we hope less than six months. This will ease fears over signing new leases by reducing the risk of bureaucratic red tape, helping small businesses preserve their opening capital by avoiding up to year-long waits as the State Liquor Authority’s new leadership works diligently through their backlog, and ensuring newly hired workers aren’t laid off because a business hasn’t received the license it needs to fully operate.” said Andrew Rigie, Executive Director of the New York City Hospitality Alliance.
In 2022, the New York State Alcoholic Beverage Control Law was updated to allow temporary liquor permits to be issued in New York City like how they are provided across the rest of New York State. The change made in 2022 was intended to help fill vacant restaurant spaces that shuttered during the COVID-19 pandemic and the two-year look-back provision ensured those vacant spaces were prioritized for being filled with a new operator. But nearly four years since the pandemic struck New York, this provision is now harming progress and must be updated to meet the needs of today.
The State Liquor Authority currently has a 10 to 12-month-long backlog to issue permanent liquor licenses, making temporary liquor permits critical to getting new restaurants open. However, the two-year lookback requirement means restaurant spaces that shuttered at the start of the pandemic that are still vacant but haven’t been licensed in two years, are not eligible for a temporary license, slowing the recovery for the hospitality and commercial real estate industries alike. Similarly problematic, newly constructed, or renovated developments aren’t eligible for temporary liquor permits at all under the two-year look back, which includes major hubs like Moynihan Train Hall, among locations in neighborhoods across the five boroughs.
The legislation proposed by Assemblyman Harvey Epstein and Senator Jessica Ramos would fix these issues while maintaining the requirement for temporary liquor permits to only be issued after the applicant has gone through the community board review process and met State Liquor Authority requirements.
“This legislation will clear the way for further investment in New York City’s restaurants and bars. It significantly reduces the time to begin serving alcohol from about a year to, we hope less than six months. This will ease fears over signing new leases by reducing the risk of bureaucratic red tape, helping small businesses preserve their opening capital by avoiding up to year-long waits as the State Liquor Authority’s new leadership works diligently through their backlog, and ensuring newly hired workers aren’t laid off because a business hasn’t received the license it needs to fully operate.” said Andrew Rigie, Executive Director, New York City Hospitality Alliance.
"When the legislature expanded temporary liquor licenses it provided a lifeline for small businesses across New York City. With this legislation, we are making sure that our newer bars and restaurants are not being arbitrarily deprived of access to a key revenue stream. Vibrant commercial corridors keep neighborhoods vibrant and keep money circulating in local communities," said State Senator Jessica Ramos (D, SD-13)
“When it comes to temporary liquor permits, we must balance the needs of small businesses with the needs of the communities they serve,” said Assembly Member Harvey Epstein. “My bill 8427-A/ S8203 with Senator Ramos ensures that the neighborhood’s character is preserved while enhancing commercial ground floor vibrancy.”
"Not a week goes by at our law office that a prospective restaurant or bar applicant walks away from leasing a vacant storefront when we tell them that they are not eligible for a temporary permit and will have to wait up to a year to get a license. This commonsense proposal will be a huge boost to filling vacant locations." said Rob and Max Bookman, partners in the alcohol regulatory firm Pesetsky & Bookman and Counsel to the NYC Hospitality Alliance
“I want to thank Assemblymember Epstein and Senator Ramos for lending their support to the hospitality and nightlife industry with the introduction of this bill. The New York State Latino Restaurant Bar & Lounge Association is thrilled to support this legislation which expands the eligibility for temporary permits and minimizes the time restaurants must go without being able to sell alcoholic beverages, a critical component of our businesses and our bottom lines. Temporary liquor licenses have been proven effective in helping businesses, especially small, minority and immigrant-owned businesses, establish themselves while protecting the local community, and we look forward to the expansion of this program with the passage of this bill,” said Sandra Jaquez, President, New York State Latino Restaurant Bar & Lounge Association
"We hear the same refrain time and time again. New operators are ready to welcome diners, but are waiting for delayed liquor licenses before opening their doors. Expanding the ability to secure a temporary license will mean all the difference to small businesses that are trying to make it. Thank you to Assemblyman Harvey Epstein and Senator Jessica Ramos for introducing this important legislation that will directly benefit hundreds of small businesses in New York City." said Melissa Fleischut, President & CEO of the New York State Restaurant Association
“The NY Japanese Restaurant Association supports this legislation as an important step to reducing bureaucratic hurdles and allowing for expedited issuance of temporary liquor licenses to insure our member restaurants are successful and prosperous.” Takashi Sato, President, New York Japanese Restaurant Association
“Passage of these bills will help free the backlog at the NYS Liquor Authority and allow for more businesses to open sooner. In turn, these businesses will hire earlier, fill vacancies, and strengthen our overall economy,” said Linda Baran, President & CEO of the Staten Island Chamber of Commerce
“The Queens Chamber of Commerce fully supports expanding the eligibility for temporary liquor licenses,” says Tom Grech, President & CEO of the Queens Chamber. “We need to give these important small businesses all the support we can to not only keep them afloat but thrive”
“Temporary liquor licenses have become a lifeline for restaurants and bars that are taking a risk and opening post-pandemic,” said Randy Peers, President & CEO of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce. “Expanding eligibility is key to helping these new businesses get off to a successful start.”
“In the post-pandemic landscape, expanding the eligibility of temporary liquor licenses is vital for new businesses to open, recover and thrive. By supporting flexibility in liquor licensing, the state fosters economic revitalization, encourages social engagement, and contributes to the overall resilience of the hospitality industry. Lisa Sorin, President Bronx Chamber of Commerce
“The backlog for permanent liquor licenses is a major threat to entrepreneurship and the opening of new businesses and job creation,” said Jessica Walker, President & CEO of the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce. “This critical temporary liquor permit legislation helps to address the problem while the State Liquor Authority works through the backlog, while also ensuring proper agency and community review.”
"The Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club applauds this legislation which will turn the tide on bureaucratic red tape and ensure that NYC can recapture the vibrancy of its multicultural restaurants, stimulate the economy, and put people to work" Allen Roskoff, President, Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club
“This bill will streamline processes for NYC restaurants and bars to obtain a temporary liquor license in 6 months or less, allowing them to operate at a full capacity sooner. It's widely recognized that the capacity to serve alcohol is essential for the success of our businesses. This crucial legislation not only expedites economic recovery but serves as a lifeline for our businesses, enabling growth and sustainability in the face of today’s unprecedented challenges.” said Bryant Postell, Co-Founder and CEO of the Black Restaurant Coalition
“The NYC BID Association proudly supports this legislation which will provide a much-needed pathway for new bars and restaurants to serve customers and neighborhoods while their permanent liquor licenses are being processed. Storefront businesses are the lifeblood of our communities, and this common-sense policy is a necessary response to the backlog of license applications at the SLA and a good way to help open new businesses more quickly. Thank you to Senator Ramos and Assemblymember Epstein for introducing this important legislation.” Robert J. Benfatto and Erin Piscopink, Co-Chairs, NYC BID Association
“Our restaurants are vital to the economy and the multi-cultural diversity of NYC. People from all over the world come here to eat at our restaurants. The NYC restaurant industry represents the largest group of small businesses, the majority owned and operated by immigrants who provide employment to thousands of immigrant families in NYC. Let’s not forget that our restaurants were hit hard during the COVID-19 Pandemic, and they are still recovering. NYC lost many restaurants, and we stand to lose more. If we want our restaurants to survive, we need to support them, and this bill helps new restaurants open faster and supports their success. This is the reason why I am in favor of it and urge the NYS Legislature to pass it.” Quenia Abreu, President, New York Women's Chamber of Commerce
“The hospitality industry is a foundational source for jobs and revenue in NYC. We congratulate Senator Ramos and Assemblymember Epstein on their efforts to eliminate delays and streamline the process of obtaining a temporary liquor permit.” says Jonathan Forgash, Executive Director of Queens Together. “This is a win-win for small business entrepreneurship and our local economy.”