Cheers! Maryland Lawmakers Support Takeaway Cocktails

Takeout cocktails have proved to be a lifeline for struggling restaurants and bars during the pandemic coronavirus. On Monday, the legislation of the Maryland-General Assembly passed the takeout cocktails to be permanent.

A law granting local jurisdictions the power to approve the sale of cocktails and other alcoholic beverages for off-premises consumption or delivery received final, last-minute approval from the House and Senate. The votes were nearly unanimous on Sine Die, the last day of the three-month legislative term. Restaurants and bars would be permitted to sell mixed beverages and cocktails in sealed containers to consumers who also purchased food under the law.

If their jurisdiction passed a local law allowing for takeout alcohol sales, restaurants and bars would need to acquire approval from the local licensing board. The bill directs counties to “consider the necessity to encourage the economic recovery of different types of small companies in the wake of COVID-19.”

As pandemic shutdowns, capacity limits, and social distancing rules threatened businesses across the state, Gov. Larry Hogan issued an emergency order on March 19, 2020, allowing carryout alcohol sales. When profits were down, bar and restaurant owners believed that to-go alcohol sales were a lifesaver. The bill is now on its way to Hogan’s desk, which he will sign.

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