Cocktails-To-Go Are A Go In Illinois

WBBM Newsradio Staff
June 03, 2020 - 8:48 am
Gin Cocktail

SPRINGFIELD (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- Cocktails-to-go are finally a go in Illinois.

A measure sponsored by State Senator Sara Feigenholtz to allow bars and restaurants to sell to-go cocktails was signed into law Tuesday by the Governor Prizker. House Bill 2682,  which was overwhelmingly passed by the House and Senate, will provide much needed relief to businesses to help them survive closures dating back to March.

“COVID-19 has devastated our independent restaurants and bars, which have patiently and cooperatively closed since the outset of the pandemic back in March,” Feigenholtz 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.”

Pritzker said restaurants and bars are “some of the hardest hit” by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“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," he said.

Under previous Illinois law, only sealed bottles of liquor and mixers could be sold, and customers would have to put together the drinks at home. 

Now, under the new law, bars and restaurants will be able to sell cocktails or mixed drinks for curbside pickup or delivery, provided that they are in tamper-proof sealed containers. Mixed drinks must be stored in a trunk or other inaccessible compartment away from a car’s driver and passengers.

According to the Governor's Office, those working for third-party delivery services, including DoorDash and GrubHub, cannot deliver cocktails to go. They must be delivered by an employee of the bar or restaurant, who also must verify the age and level of intoxication of the recipient.

The law, set to expire one year from Tuesday, additionally postpones late fees and liquor license fees for restaurants and bars. It also authorizes a license extension for any establishment that suffered business interruptions due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

“The hospitality industry has faced unprecedented challenges since the first Stay at Home Order was issued back in March,” Feigenholtz said. “I’m glad we were able to get this measure signed and bring relief to struggling restaurants and bars.”

Cocktails for Hope, the Illinois Restaurant Association, the Illinois Licensed Beverage Association and several chambers of commerce supported the legislation.