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Bill could create new catering opportunity

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Restaurants and other caterers in New York may soon be able to provide food to mourners at funeral homes.

A bill lifting a decades-long ban on serving food at funeral parlors would allow funeral homes to provide non-alcoholic beverages, sandwiches, baked goods and hot trays. The measure would also permit food specific to the deceased person’s religious beliefs to be served. Alcohol would remain banned.

The bill was passed by the state senate last week and awaits Governor Cuomo’s signature.

The ban has long been a part of New York’s Department of Health regulations, but funeral establishments and caterers have fought against it. Currently, New York prohibits funeral homes from serving or providing space for preparation of any food or beverages.

Proponents of the bill said in a memo accompanying the measure that “the very presence and consumption of food and beverages is part and parcel of virtually every type of gathering or event.”

The bill would take effect six months after Cuomo’s approval.

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