Minnesota Legislators have reached an agreement to allow restaurants forced to close due to COVID-19 to include alcohol in takeout orders.
The drafted bill would allow restaurants affected by Gov. Tim Walz’s stay-at-home order to include up to 750 milliliters of wine (one bottle) and 72 ounces of beer, hard seltzer or cider (a six pack) with food orders.
Any alcohol must be in its original packaging, meaning mixed drinks and cocktails aren’t included in the bill. Alcohol must be sold in conjunction with food, and restaurants must insure the person picking up the order is at least 21.
Alcohol would only be permitted with these take out orders for as long as the Stay-at-Home order is in place – set for May 4. Local governments would also have the ability to prohibit these sales.
Delivery orders cannot include alcohol under the bill.
“Giving restaurants this option is a commonsense way we can help local job creators pay their bills and keep Minnesotans employed,” said Rep. Jon Koznick, R-Lakeville, in a statement. “This temporary change gives local establishments the flexibility they need to convert existing wine and beer inventory into revenue while providing a more immediate solution to cash-flow problems than waiting for loan approval.”
A House committee will hear the bill Thursday. The Senate will meet on the floor Thursday, while the House will meet Friday.
States that have already instituted similar policies include Iowa, Illinois, Wisconsin, New York, Maryland, Colorado, New Hampshire, Texas, California, Nebraska, Vermont and Ohio.