Proposed legislation would allow to-go alcohol sales permanently in California

A new state bill would permanently allow restaurants to sell alcohol as part of take-out orders in an attempt to alleviate the financial havoc the COVID-19 pandemic unleashed on California's food service industry. 

The California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control currently allows restaurants to sell cocktails with to-go meals, but Senate Bill 389, introduced by State Sen. Bill Dodd, D-Napa, would make the practice permanent. 

"If allowing restaurants to sell carry out cocktails alongside a meal helps keep their doors open, we must do it. Ultimately, it's about preserving jobs and getting our economy back on track," said Dodd in a press release. 

Restaurants nationwide are undergoing a $165 billion loss since March 2020, and a survey by the National Restaurant Association found that restaurant owners who sell take-out alcohol rehired laid off employees at a rate higher than owners who did not, according to the press release. 

The legislation would not allow restaurants to sell take-out alcohol by itself, anyone who wants to a to-go cocktail must order food to accompany the beverage.

"The ability to include cocktails with to-go meals has been helpful for many restaurant owners who are barely hanging on," said Jot Condie, president and CEO of the California Restaurant Association.