Legislature OKs letting bars sell cocktails to go
By JERRY NOWICKI
SPRINGFIELD — A measure allowing bars and restaurants to serve cocktails to go passed both chambers of the General Assembly on Saturday, meaning it needs only a signature from Gov. J.B. Pritzker to become law.
State Sen. Sara Feigenholtz, D-Chicago, said in a news release that the bill is aimed at bringing “much needed” relief to bars and restaurants affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
In a floor debate, she added that 300,000 of the 580,000 people employed in the hospitality industry in Illinois are currently jobless as indoor dining is still not allowed under the state’s stay-at-home order.
Per the bill, bars and restaurants can sell pre-mixed cocktails or other mixed drinks for delivery and curbside pickup, provided they are in tamperproof sealed containers. Drivers would be required to store mixed drinks in a trunk or other inaccessible compartment.
The cocktails-to-go measure would be repealed one year after the effective date of the bill, which would be whenever the governor signs it. The measure, H.B. 2682, included other provisions aimed at assisting businesses that have been affected by the pandemic as well. Those include automatically renewing and extending liquor licenses and waiving latefiling fees for a license holder that has had their business suspended in any capacity due to the pandemic.
Lawmakers were scheduled to work well into the night Saturday and possibly into today, making passage of that bill still a possibility this weekend.
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