Cocktails to go at restaurants and bars likely to stay in Ohio post-pandemic

Even after the pandemic ends, Ohioans will be allowed to order cocktails to go when they get carry out food from a bar or restaurant, under a bill that cleared the Ohio Senate on Wednesday.

The provision was initially enacted by an executive order signed by Gov. Mike DeWine as a means of helping bars and restaurants stay in business during the coronavirus shut downs in the spring.

Although many restaurants and bars have re-opened, they face a nervous clientele and social distancing restrictions that make business difficult, said Andy Herf, director of the Ohio Spirits Association and the Ohio Licensed Beverage Association.

House Bill 669 would allow:

  • Restaurants and bars with full liquor licenses to sell full-proof cocktails to go, with a three drink per person limit and a requirement that meals be purchased as well.
  • Temporary expansion of outdoor patio space to include adjacent sidewalks and parking areas.

The bill is supported by craft brewers, distilleries, restaurants and bars, but drug and alcohol addiction experts raised concerned that easy access to alcoholic beverages would increase youth drinking.

The Ohio House was expected to concur in Senate amendments on the bill late Wednesday. Then it’ll head to DeWine for veto or signature.

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