Mixed Drinks To-Go Sales Allowed in Texas
Gov. Abbott extends waiver in hopes of providing relief for businesses during pandemic
Following Gov. Abbott's Executive Order 28 that once again closed bars to slow the resurgence of COVID-19, Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission issued a new statutory waiver approved by the governor, which effectively allows restaurants and "certain bars" with a Mixed Beverage Permit to sell mixed drinks – identified as "drinks containing distilled spirits mixed and sealed by the business itself" – to go and for delivery, a previously prohibited act. The governor's action temporarily waives that law.
Under Abbott's expanded waiver, restaurants may sell mixed beverages with takeout and delivery food orders with the following safety parameters: The restaurant must mix the drink on-site, combining distilled spirits with other beverages and/or garnishes.
The restaurant must seal the mixed drink on-site with tape or an adhesive label that states the name of the restaurant and "alcoholic beverage." The sealed mixed drink must then be placed in a bag that is sealed with a zip tie.
Mixed drinks cannot be transported in the passenger area of a vehicle. (Open containers are illegal.)
The Texas Restaurant Association created the Texas Restaurant Survival Plan, an eight-point plan directed at the state that combines aid from the CARES Act with policy reforms – including an expanded alcohol-to-go waiver. "With restaurants employing more than 1.3 million Texans and representing 51 percent of the food dollar, we simply cannot afford to let these critical businesses close for good," said Emily Williams Knight, president and CEO of TRA. "Today's announcement is an important step forward, giving many hope, and so we're very grateful to Governor Abbott and our partners in the distilled spirits business for working with us to get restaurants some of the critical relief they need."
Additionally, from an industry release, TRA said, "Expanding the alcohol to-go waiver is part of the Texas Restaurant Survival Plan, and is a great first step, but we'll also need grants, eviction protection, and liability protection to help us through this crisis. TRA will continue to lead the restaurant industry through this crisis and advocate for the recovery they deserve."
[Editor's Note: The Texas Restaurant Association (TRA) is not a chapter of the National Restaurant Association as originally stated in the article. TRA is its own entity. We've corrected the error.]