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May 5, 2020

Cocktails to go is a no-go

The measure would have brought much-needed relief to restaurants

On Friday, the food and beverage industry was hopeful they might see their revenue jump. Legislation had passed the House that would enable restaurants and bars to sell cocktails to go. The change would have been part of a larger Covid-19 relief bill. When the bill passed the Senate, however, the provision allowing restaurants and bars to serve cocktails to-go had been removed.

Liquor sales are a large percentage of a restaurant’s profit. Most restaurant/bar owners and staff were confident the legislation would pass — and were excited at the prospect. It would not only bring in more money to struggling restaurants, but let bartenders return to doing what they love.

The bill wasn’t without restrictions. Cocktails couldn’t be sold without food, for example, and would need to be in a sealed container and transported in the trunk of your car. Still, the step would have been a great relief to restaurants.

The North Carolina Restaurant and Lodging Association, which has been lobbying for the bill, says it will continue to push for the legislation. The legislature won’t reconvene now until May 18. If you’d like to voice support for to-go cocktails, you can do so here. It’s one small thing we can do for the folks keeping us fed. —Kristen Wile

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