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Ohio Gov. DeWine signs bill making carry-out cocktails permanent

Restaurants offering to-go cocktails to stay afloat during pandemic
Posted at 6:27 PM, Oct 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-13 18:41:04-04

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine signed a bill Tuesday allowing businesses to sell alcoholic beverages for carry-out and delivery, even after the pandemic ends.

The Business Expansion and Safety Act, sponsored by Rep. D.J. Swearingen (R-Huron) and Rep. Jeff LaRe (R-Violet Township), allows retail permit holders to use more outside space on private or public property to serve customers, with approval from their local municipality.

It also allows for third-party delivery of alcohol to people over 21 with the purchase of a meal. Each customer can order a maximum of three drinks per meal.

“I am grateful to the governor for signing this critical legislation into law,” said Swearingen in a release. “This bill is going to help our main street businesses, restaurant industry and all of the waiters, waitresses, bartenders and Ohioans that rely on that industry to pay their bills."

The bill also makes permanent the carry-out drinks allowance made by the Ohio Liquor Control Commission.

“The Business Expansion and Safety Act works to give businesses the flexibility to expand their operations with the hope of leading to maximized revenue generation and making up for lost profits after the state shutdown,” said LaRe in a separate release. “This is truly pro-business legislation that benefits both the sellers and consumers.”

Bars and restaurants in Ohio were first allowed to sell carry-out beverages in April to spur take-out business while many were forced to close due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the National Hospitality Recovery Coalition, Ohio is now the second state to make carry-out cocktails permanent amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“During these unprecedented times, [Governor DeWine has] listened to the plight of Ohio’s restaurants and bars as they struggled to cope with the challenges posed by COVID-19,” read a letter from the coalition to the governor on Tuesday. “Cocktails to-go provided a much-needed lifeline for struggling on-premise locations and prevented the permanent closure of many of these businesses. Now that this measure is permanent, hospitality businesses have increased stability despite the uncertainty surrounding the pandemic.”

DeWine signed a second alcohol-related bill Tuesday, revising alcoholic ice cream laws. HB 160, sponsored by Rep. Catherine Ingram (D-Cincinnati), allows permit holders to sell alcoholic ice cream to consumers and retailers for personal consumption and lifts the restriction on how many of those products a person can purchase.