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Cocktails-To-Go Measures Sticking Around In More Than 30 U.S. Markets

July 23, 2021

As the most devastating effects of the pandemic ebb and restaurants and bars reopen, one Covid-era concession looks set to stick around: cocktail to-go programs. Initially framed as a stop-gap measure to allow restaurants to retain a sliver of the critical revenue drink sales provide as they pivoted to delivery and take-out, the initiatives have proven wildly popular.

Overall, more than 35 states adopted cocktail to-go provisions in one form or another during the pandemic. Now 16 states plus Washington D.C. have taken legislative action to make those changes permanent, including Florida, Texas, Georgia, and Oregon, among others. An additional 14 states have extended their programs—some just through next year, like Virginia, Delaware, New Jersey, and Maine, and others, like Colorado and Michigan, as far out as 2025. Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and New York are the only three states that have let their to-go measures expire.

“Business owners from all across the country continue to tell me that cocktails to-go helped them keep the lights on during the pandemic and provided stability when little else could,” said Chris Swonger, president and CEO of DISCUS. “Unfortunately, the hospitality industry has a long way to go before it is fully recovered. We are pleased to see so many states taking action to allow cocktails to-go permanently or for an extended amount of time to help these businesses get back on their feet.”—Danny Sullivan

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