"Cocktails to go" bill introduced; legislator says governor could allow immediately | Michigan Radio
WUOMFM

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

May 21, 2020

Restaurants and bars could offer 'cocktails to go' under legislation introduced in the Michigan Senate. (file photo)
Credit 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.

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

“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.

Michigan Radio listeners, readers, and reporters are rising to the challenge every day. If you can, please support essential journalism during this crisis.