NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — It’s the first weekend without a pandemic perk for many restaurants and patrons — alcohol to-go.

The service was suspended suddenly on Wednesday.

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Friends out Friday night were feeling good, finally enjoying a sense of normalcy.

“I love seeing New York come to life … seeing people having fun again,” Danica Rodriguez said.

“Which is why I like these [outdoor dining] structures so much ’cause I’m still a little hesitant to go all the way inside and sit down and eat,” Harlem resident Zahra Ruffin said.

The owner of the new Upper West Side restaurant Hachi Maki and Good Enough to Eat next door says outdoor dining has been a savior.

“I think we would have lost so many more restaurants during COVID, even to this day, if it wasn’t for the outdoor dining,” said Jeremy Wladis, with the Restaurant Group.


While outdoor dining structures are here to stay, for now, a popular pandemic perk, to-go cocktails, are a thing of the past.

“They need to stop just taking things away so quickly. We’re gonna be a long, long time before we fully recover,” Wladis told CBS2’s Jenna DeAngelis.

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The abrupt end of alcohol to-go came with the end of the state of emergency, leaving places like Tannat in Inwood only 24 hours to try and clear out.

Owner Sarah Goler scrambled to send a newsletter to her customers and support came pouring in.

“Over the last two days, we sold more than $10,000 worth of wine,” she said.

But now she’s stuck with pre-ordered cases, natural wines expensive to sell by the glass, and losing a big portion of business.

“I don’t know what we’re gonna do about the loss of almost 20% of our sales,” Goler said.

The state liquor authority said, “The Legislature failed to codify the ability of restaurants to continue offering alcohol to-go.”

“The state does control this 100%. This is not something the city can do,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said.

But the mayor supports extending it, as do 70% of New Yorkers, according to a recent survey by the New York State Restaurant Association.

“We think it would have been a very logical decision to extend this out a year or two because it’s going to be a long haul for the restaurant industry,” said Melissa Fleischut, president and CEO of the New York State Restaurant Association.

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Supporters say they’ll keep pushing to pour glasses to-go in the future.

Jenna DeAngelis