The coronavirus is shaking up America’s liquor laws.
At least 33 states and the District of Columbia are temporarily allowing cocktails to-go during the pandemic. Only two — Florida and Mississippi — allowed them on a limited basis before coronavirus struck, according to the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States.
Struggling restaurants say it’s a lifeline, letting them rehire bartenders, pay rent and reestablish relationships with customers. But others want states to slow down, saying the decades-old laws help ensure public safety.
Julia Momose closed Kumiko, her Japanese-style cocktail bar in Chicago, on March 16. The next day, Illinois allowed bars and restaurants to start selling unopened bottles of beer, wine and liquor, but mixed drinks were excluded.
Momose spent the next three months collecting petition signatures and pressing lawmakers to allow carryout cocktails. It worked. On June 17, she poured her first to-go drink: a Seaflower, made with … Read the rest