For better or for worse, we can add “to-go” alcohol sales to the “new normal” created by the pandemic.
After COVID-19 started wreaking havoc among bars and restaurants, the state temporarily allowed the sale of so-called “curbside cocktails” — single alcoholic drinks packaged to go.
It was a way to help businesses that rely on profits from alcohol sales from shuttering.
This past legislative session, a bill was introduced to make the change permanent. Some, such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving, opposed the legislation, saying it could increase drunk driving.
“Alcohol sales must recognize the horrific consequences of drunk driving and take all possible precautions to discourage and prevent drinking and driving,” MADD National President Helen Witty previously told the Chicago Tribune.
Still, the bill passed and will take effect with other new laws on Saturday.
We urge consumers to make sure MADD’s fear doesn’t come true. If you buy to-go drinks, wait until you get home to enjoy them. Don’t risk causing a nightmare situation for you and other drivers on the road — in addition to a nightmare legal situation for yourself.
We also urge sellers and consumers to heed the details of the new law:
• The alcohol container is durable, leak-proof, and sealable, and does not exceed 128 ounces;
• The customer must have ordered and purchased a meal simultaneous with the liquor purchase;
• No more than two alcohol drinks may be sold per meal serving;
• The licensee must provide a dated receipt for the meal and alcohol beverage(s); and
• The sealed alcohol container must either be laced in a one-time-use, tamperproof, transparent bag which must be securely sealed, or; the container opening must be sealed with tamperproof tape.
The law does not allow liquor licensees to sell mixed drinks in typical “to-go” cups or other containers having a lid with a sipping hole or an opening for straws.
We hope this new law throws a lifeline to struggling businesses. However, we also hope the state monitors it to ensure not only that it’s carried out properly but to ensure the end result isn’t more roadway deaths caused by impaired drivers.