Cocktails-to-go will carry on post-pandemic

Cocktails to-go are now a permanent option in Ohio.

Gov. Mike DeWine signed the alcohol-related bill Tuesday that allows bars and restaurants to sell drinks with carryout orders.

Carryout drinks were approved by an executive order signed by DeWine in early April to help bars and restaurants stay in business during the coronavirus shutdown. Now that many establishments have reopened, social distancing restrictions means fewer customers.

“Restaurants across the Dayton region are struggling because of the virus,” state Rep. Niraj Antani, R-Miamisburg, said earlier this spring. “Making to-go alcoholic drinks permanent is one way to help them with the recovery.”

House Bill 669,whch was signed signed into law, allows restaurants with full liquor licenses to sell full-proof cocktails to-go, with a three drink limit and a requirement that meals be purchased as well. The drinks must be sealed.

When DeWine announced the temporary measure on April 7, Elsa’s Mexican Restaurants, known for their “Bad Juan” margaritas, posted an image on is Facebook page that touted cocktails to go with a hashtag “#JuanWithDeWine.”

The bill signed Tuesday also provides for a temporary expansion of outdoor patio space to include adjacent sidewalks and parking areas.

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

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