Next time you order takeout food, you can pair it with a premade to-go cocktail, thanks to legislation signed by Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Tuesday.
“Restaurants and bars are beloved businesses in so many of our communities and also some of the hardest hit from the COVD-19 pandemic,” said Gov. J.B. Pritzker in a statement. “This legislation will provide these businesses with a critical tool to bring in additional income until they can safely and fully reopen their doors once more.”
Thirsty Chicagoans will have to wait a little longer, though. The city needs to make changes to its municipal code in order to allow for to-go cocktails and Mayor Lori Lightfoot said she’d wait until the June 17 City Council meeting to get the necessary changes approved, according to Block Club Chicago.
The law, HB 2682, allows for the sale of cocktails by bars and restaurants with liquor licenses for pickup and delivery. Cocktails will have to be in sealed, tamper-proof containers. Sellers must ask for identification that proves the customer is at least 21 years old and booze must be kept away from drivers picking up drinks. Per the law, third-party delivery apps can’t deliver cocktails.
Restaurants and bars were hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, which forced them to close their doors to customers since mid-March.
“COVID-19 has devastated our independent restaurants and bars who patiently and cooperatively closed since the outset of the pandemic back in March,” state Sen. Sara Feigenholtz, who sponsored the measure, said in a statement. “Illinois joins 34 other states in enacting this policy. This new law provides restaurants and bar owners with a survival tool as they wait to open safely and to their full capacity.”
The law also delays late fees and license fees for liquor licenses for businesses and establishes automatic liquor license renewal approval and extension for any license holder whose business has been suspended in any capacity as a result of COVID-19.
Now that Illinois is in phase three of its reopening plan, restaurants and bars are permitted to provide outdoor dining service as long as they adhere to public safety guidelines and social distancing measures. In phase four, establishments will be able to reopen with capacity limits, according to the state’s reopening plan.