Permanent alcohol to-go from restaurants closer to reality

The new, permanent alcohol-to-go option could benefit the restaurant industry after it has faced an excruciating year during the coronavirus pandemic. Credit: Christopher Lee for The Texas Tribune

The shared goal of Gov. Greg Abbott and restaurateurs to permanently allow Texans the ability to purchase alcohol to-go from restaurants moved a step closer to being realized late last month.

House Bill 1024 would allow beer, wine and mixed drinks to be included in pickup and delivery food orders and secure a revenue stream made available to restaurants in the last year in an effort to help those businesses when they closed their dining areas, according to the Texas Tribune. Formal approval in the House was overwhelming by a 144-1 vote. The legislation will now head to the Senate, where a version of the measure must still be approved by a committee before it can be considered by the full chamber. If/when it passes the Senate, Abbott “can’t wait to sign it.”

Abbott originally signed a waiver last March to allow to-go alcohol sales, as restaurants were forced to close or greatly reduce their dining room capacity. The waiver was originally meant to last a few months, but it was extended indefinitely. As lawmakers began their work during the current legislative session, expanding Texans’ access to booze picked up rare bipartisan support.

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Mark Smith
Mark Smith is the Digital Editor of The Cross Timbers Gazette.

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