Carry-out alcohol: Ohio House passes bill to make quarantine privilege permanent

DeWine and Liquor

Ohio is one step closer to making alcohol to-go sales permanent.

The Ohio House passed a bill Wednesday that would allow the sale of alcoholic drinks to-go from restaurants and bars anytime.

Newscenter 7’s Katy Andersen talked to one of the owners of Wheat Penny in downtown Dayton about how alcohol to-go sales have impacted business.

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“It’s been great for us. Our average check has increased,” chef and partner, Liz Valenti, said. “Because it's a one stop shop for people. They can get alcohol, beer and wine, and then get their carry out food as well.”

Alcohol to-go sales at restaurants and bars started in Ohio on April 7 to help businesses struggling because of the coronavirus outbreak.

“When we pivoted to carry out, our sales plummeted. It was a small fraction compared to what we typically do,” Valenti said.

To help give restaurants a boost, Ohio Governor Mike Dewine turned to alcohol sales.

“You will be able to get up to two drinks that will be pre-packaged that cannot be opened until you get home,” Dewine said at a press conference in April.

But the provision was only temporary. Now lawmakers are wanting to make alcohol to-go sales permanent through House Bill 669.

The bill would not have a set limit on how many drinks could be sold and would allow food delivery services, such as Door Dash and Grub Hub, to deliver the drinks.

“We're excited by it. We actually think we will have a whole separate bar program for carry out cocktails, because some cocktails travel better than others,” Valenti said.

Valenti said if the bill is passed into law, this will be a game changer for the restaurant industry.

“I think the new normal is really going to consist of people taking advantage of carryout, and adding cocktails to it will just enhance the experience,” Valenti said.

The bill has been sent to the Senate.

According to the Distilled Spirits Council of the United State, other states including Texas, Florida, Oklahoma, and Iowa are considering making policies like this one permanent.