NEW DETAILS: Ohio House approves ‘cocktails to go’ bill, which now heads to Senate

The Ohio House of Representatives today, June 10 approved a bill that would allow Ohio restaurants and pubs that have full liquor licenses to sell full-proof cocktails and other alcohol “to go.”

The bill now moves to the Ohio Senate.

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Bars and restaurants have temporary “emergency” permission to serve such high-proof cocktails and other alcoholic drinks for carryout and delivery, with a limit of two drinks per meal. The temporary permission was granted by the state’s liquor control commission in April to help businesses during the coronavirus pandemic, when restaurant owners endured more than two months of a mandatory shutdown of their dine-in services.

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The exemption is scheduled to expire in August, unless the liquor control board extends it — or unless the Ohio General Assembly and governor change state law. Today’s vote was the first step toward doing that, but the bill must be approved by the Ohio Senate before heading to Gov. Mike DeWine’s desk.

Many restaurant and pub owners have reopened their dining rooms and bars, with reduced capacity, and they sought to make permanent the ability to serve alcohol to go.

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“If restrictions such as this can be suspended — and the public trusted to act responsibly during an emergency — why not all the time?” Glen Brailey, founder and owner of Spinoza’s Pizza in the Mall at Fairfield Commons in Beavercreek, told this news outlet in mid-May, shortly before the legislation was introduced. “Making alcohol sales to-go a permanent change in the law would certainly help us recuperate some of our lost sales.”

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