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Pandemic Or No To-Go Cocktails Are Here To Stay

Pandemic Or No, To-Go Cocktails Are Here To Stay

May 28, 2021 at 06:15PM
by PYMNTS

COVID-19 restrictions may be ending, but some pandemic-related routines are here to stay.

For example: ordering cocktails to go. It’s something most states outlawed prior to the coronavirus outbreak. Now, 14 states and the District of Columbia have passed measures allowing restaurants to make to-go cocktails a permanent fixture. As CNBC noted on Friday (May 28), six other states have extended the practice into next year, and another 15 are considering bills to keep to-go cocktails around.

“When lockdowns began last year, restrictions against in-person dining devastated the restaurant industry,” noted the report. “Pivoting to takeout and delivery helped to recoup some lost sales, but not nearly enough. Most eateries were also still missing out on alcohol sales, which generally are the highest-margin items on the menu.”

In New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo issued a temporary order that let restaurants and bars sell cocktails to go. Dozens of other states, along with the District of Columbia, did the same. These measures had the backing of the bar and restaurant lobbyists, while the idea of making them permanent is strongly opposed by the nation’s liquor store owners.

“The Distilled Spirits Council jumped into this very early in the pandemic, because we saw it was a way we could advocate for our restaurant and bar partners,” said Lisa Hawkins, senior vice president of public affairs for the trade group. “We saw this as a very critical revenue stream at a time when they needed it most.”

Robert Mellion, executive director and general counsel of the Massachusetts Package Store Association, wrote a recent column arguing that changing liquor laws would hurt both brick-and-mortar sellers and public safety, CNBC said.

As PYMNTS reported last month, the continuation of to-go cocktails is just one of several things that could end up as part of the permanent economic fabric, along with the interstate sharing of healthcare professionals, expanded Medicare reimbursement for telemed visits, online notarization and curbside cannabis pickup.