Illinois bars and restaurants can now serve mixed-drinks to go. Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed the measure into law Tuesday.
The legislature overwhelmingly approved the one-year program to assist establishments that suffered a loss of business due to the COVID-19 outbreak and the ensuing stay at home orders.
It will allow most establishments to provide both delivery of cocktails and curbside pickup of such beverages.
The law requires the mixed drinks to be sold in sealed containers. Supporters say the cocktails to-go law will help the hospitality industry get back on its feet. The new law also gives an extension for renewing liquor licenses.
While the permissive sales are allowed for one year, legislators discussing the measure on the House floor late last month indicated they would like to see such a plan made permanent. State Representative Tim Butler (R-Springfield) indicated support for such an idea.
“This legislation will provide these businesses with a critical tool to bring in additional income until they can safely and fully reopen their doors once more. As we move forward, I am fully committed to taking every action available to us and pursuing all resources at the state and federal level to support this critical industry,” the Governor said in a statement announcing the signing of the law.
Cocktails can only be delivered in a sealed, labeled container with a tamper-evident cap or seal by an employee of the liquor license holder who is over the age of 21 and trained in responsible alcohol service. Cocktails may not be delivered via a third party delivery app. An employee must verify the age, as well as the intoxication level, of the consumer.
State Sen. Sara Feigenholtz, D-Chicago, said this legislation will help the hospitality industry and put people back to work. She said 300,000 people are unemployed in an industry that had 580,000 jobs prior to the economic downturn.
The measure provides other forms of relief for restaurants such as fee waivers, deferred license fees, automatic renewals, and a license extension for 120 days.
The law took effect immediately.