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To-go cocktails jumps hurdle in becoming permanent in California

Senate Bill 389 would build on a pandemic practice allowing restaurants to serve cocktails for carryout.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Cocktails to-go is closer to becoming a permanent staple in California.

Senate Bill 389, which would allow restaurants to serve cocktails for carryout and delivery orders, passed unanimously through the state senate on Monday.

"If allowing restaurants to sell carry-out cocktails helps keep their doors open, we must do it,” SB 389 author Sen. Bill Dodd (D-Napa) said. “This is about preserving jobs and getting our economy back on track. I appreciate my Senate colleagues for their support.”

Nationwide, restaurants have experienced about $165 billion in losses since March 2020 due to lockdowns and social distancing requirements as the coronavirus pandemic continues, according to the press release.

A National Restaurant Association survey found that 78% of restaurant owners that sold to-go cocktails rehired employees that were laid off compared to 62% of restaurants overall across the country.

California is one of 33 states that have allowed to-go cocktails during the pandemic, but it's a temporary thing.

SB 389 would make them a permanent staple for to-go orders. It would also add to a practice already being overseen by the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) that allows restaurants and bars to sell to-go alcohol whether the patrons order food or not. The additions would add enforcement so that alcohol isn't sold to minors.

SB 389 now heads to the state assembly, where if passed there, would go to the governor's desk.

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