Alcohol vendors make big changes to stay in business during coronavirus crisis
By Alexa Santos, Digital Producer
Restaurants, bars, and many other small businesses have been dealing with major changes to their standard operating procedures amid the coronavirus pandemic.
On March 16, the governors of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut announced the closure of all restaurants and bars, except for takeout and delivery orders, in an effort to stop the spread of coronavirus.
As of March 22, all "non-essential" businesses in the tri-state needed to eliminate their in-person workforces. But in all three states, liquor stores have been deemed "essential businesses" that can remain open.
Also, temporary changes in liquor laws gave restaurants and bars the ability to sell alcohol as part of their takeout and delivery menus.
That means bars, breweries, distilleries, wineries, and liquor stores are working out new ways to do some business during this difficult time.
Rooftop Reds, a rooftop vineyard in the Brooklyn Navy Yard, has started delivering for the first time since being in business.
Rooftop Reds is a seasonal venue, that opened for the spring and summer on March 1. Shortly thereafter, they had to close the space due to the coronavirus pandemic. Managing partner Devin Shomaker says 75% of the staff was laid off.
Getting creative, they decided to start delivering their craft wines as a way to keep the business alive.
Shomaker says it was a huge relief that New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo deemed alcohol as an essential business, allowing for businesses like Rooftop Reds to use deliveries as a lifeline.
"It's been absolutely vital that we are able to continue doing this outreach delivery service, and have some revenue coming in," Shomaker says.
Rooftop Reds is delivering to all of Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Long Island City. Ideally, Shomaker hopes their home delivery service is popular enough to potentially allow him to hire some of his staff back on to assist.
Shomaker decided to partner with one of Rooftop Reds' neighbors in the Brooklyn Navy Yard, Transmitter Brewing, to bring more variety to their delivery services.
Transmitter Brewing is a local craft brewery. Cofounder Rob Kolb says it's vitally important that people support their local spots through takeout and delivery options during this time. "If we go out of business, that affects this neighborhood," Kolb said.
Here is a list of several venues that are open for alcohol pickup and/or delivery in the tri-state area:
Note: Each day, things are changing, and more businesses may choose to close their doors or alter their delivery & takeout options. You can check with locations directly, if you want to be sure.
Brooklyn Kura (at participating wine & liquor stores)
If you are a business that is still open, click here and let us know.