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State OKs new holiday alcohol sale hours in Schenectady County

— Local liquor and wine storeowners have something to cheer about this Memorial Day, as it will be the first holiday in Schenectady County during which limits on hours of sales have been lifted.

The New York State Liquor Authority approved the Schenectady County Legislature’s request to remove restrictions on the hours liquor and wine could be sold during certain holidays. Prior to the April 24 approval, the sale of alcoholic beverages for off-premise consumption was limited from 9 a.m. to noon on New Year’s, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day and Thanksgiving Day.

The Legislature unanimously approved the change on March 13, which allowed liquor stores to remain open on the five holidays from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. except for Sundays, which are restricted to a noon opening and 9 p.m. closing.

Albany and Saratoga counties had previously petitioned the State Liquor Authority to remove the restrictions on sales and allow for the same hours of sales as Schenectady County.

Rensselaer County will be the only remaining county in the Capital District restricting sales on such holidays. State law bars the retail sale of liquor and wine on Christmas Day.

County Legislator Martin Finn thanked the state for acting on the request, which was spurred by local business owners petitioning for the change.

“This change will level the playing field for small businesses in Schenectady County as well as bring additional sales tax into our coffers that might otherwise go to neighboring counties,” Finn said in a statement.

In addition to stores losing out on potential sales, County Legislator Cathy Gatta said residents were inconvenienced by having to travel to another county to make their purchases.

“Having to close early on some of the biggest holidays of the year lost them local business while forcing their customers to travel a little further into Saratoga and Albany counties,” Gatta said in a statement.

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