Bill permanently legalizing 'to-go' cocktails passes, awaits governor's signature

Georgia legislators on Monday passed SB 236, making the legal sale of to-go cocktails from restaurants permanent.

 The bill passed with a 120-48 vote in the Georgia House of Representatives and now heads to Gov. Brian Kemp's desk for his signature.

The bill had bipartisan support. Seven Republican senators and two Democratic senators sponsored the bill. 

The bill's backers said it's a crucial step in helping restaurants hit hard, financially, by the pandemic. Alcoholic beverages are some of the highest-profiting items on menus.

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 The bill's critics said loosening restrictions on alcohol sales leads to potential problems. 

Currently, more than 30 states plus the District of Columbia are allowing restaurants to sell cocktails to-go with Iowa, Ohio, Kentucky, Wisconsin and the District of Columbia making pandemic policies permanent, according to the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States. 

Licensed food service establishments can sell mixed drinks in a sealed container — with no straw holes — and the bill requires customers to pick up orders in-person with their ID and secure drinks in a locked glove compartment, trunk or behind the last car seat. 

The bill states "mixed drinks" can contain no more than 3 ounces of distilled spirits. 

While some argue that the pandemic may subside and people will return to dining in restaurants more regularly, some indications show the pandemic permanently interrupted dining routines

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