SACRAMENTO (CBS SF) – A bill from a Bay Area lawmaker extending to-go cocktail sales, which have become a way to help bars and restaurants struggling through the COVID-19 pandemic, is heading to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s desk.
In a unanimous vote, Senate Bill 389 by State Sen. Bill Dodd (D-Napa) cleared its final legislative hurdle on Thursday. Under the measure, restaurants will be allowed to sell to-go alcoholic beverages with food orders through the end of 2026.
“Restaurants have been hit hard by the pandemic and the ability to sell carry-out cocktails has been critical to ensuring they can survive,” Dodd said in a statement. “Making this permanent will assist their recovery, protecting jobs and our economy.”
California is among 33 states that began temporarily allowing the sale of to-go cocktails during the pandemic as a way to help keep establishments afloat. According to a National Restaurant Association survey cited by Dodd’s office, 78% of restaurant owners who sold alcohol to go were able to rehire laid off workers compared to 62% overall.
As part of the measure, to-go cocktails must be packaged in a secured or sealed container and must be clearly labeled as alcoholic beverages. Establishments must also display signage warning patrons of state open container laws.
The bill also calls for safeguards enforced by the Bureau of Alcoholic Beverage Control to ensure alcohol is not sold to minors.
According to the Distilled Sprits Council, a trade group representing liquor manufacturers, 16 states and the District of Columbia have made to-go cocktail sales permanent, while another 14 have temporarily extended sales through at least next year.