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"Cocktails to go" bill introduced; legislator says governor could allow immediately

Lester Graham
Michigan Radio

Legislation has been introduced to allow Michigan bars and restaurants to sell cocktails to go as a way to help those businesses through the restrictions they face because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Restaurants and bars that serve food for pick-up or delivery already have been able to sell wine and beer by the bottle or can. Many have been asking the government to let them also sell cocktails ‘to go.’

State Senators Mallory McMorrow and Jeff Irwin, both Democrats, have co-sponsored the legislation.

“Well, I think it makes a lot of sense, particularly during this time when so many of our great restaurants and bars are struggling to give them another opportunity to stay alive during this coronapocalypse by allowing to-go cocktails,” said Irwin.

He also wants cities to allow districts where people can take a drink with them as they stroll between restaurants and bars as other cities such as Nashville and New Orleans allow. In the House, Representative Michael Webber, a Republican, has introduced similar legislation.

Credit Lester Graham
Cities such as New Orleans (pictured), Nashville, and others allow people to carry open containers (not glass) in certain districts.

“Michigan’s anachronistic liquor control laws need to be amended and updated to the times,” Irwin said.

Many of the laws restricting liquor in Michigan are holdovers from a period immediately after Prohibition.

Senator Irwin noted there is a faster way to help the restaurants and bars than through the legislative process.

“As you know, the legislature doesn’t always work quickly and to have the Governor step in with some sort of emergency action to help our bars and restaurants would be very welcomed,” Irwin said.

Correction: Senator Irwin said "coronapocalypse" rather than "current apocalypse" as orginal posted.

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Lester Graham reports for The Environment Report. He has reported on public policy, politics, and issues regarding race and gender inequity. He was previously with The Environment Report at Michigan Public from 1998-2010.
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