DeWine signs law making to-go cocktails permanent fixture in Ohio

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Alcohol must be sold in a covered cup or its original, sealed container

NEWPORT, RHODE ISLAND – MAY 09: A view of a to-go dinner and cocktail at SpeakEasy Bar & Grill on May 09, 2020 in Newport, Rhode Island. Non-critical retail establishments began opening their doors with limited capacity as part of Phase 1 to reopen the state that was shut down due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Restaurants are now permitted to sell alcoholic mixed drinks with to go orders, and some state parks are welcoming visitors again. Gatherings are still limited to five people or fewer, and close contact businesses such as hair and nail salons are still shut down. Rhode Island has reported 10,000 confirmed coronavirus cases. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WJW) — To-go cocktails are now a permanent fixture in Ohio.

On Tuesday, Governor Mike DeWine signed House Bill 669 into law, which allows bars, restaurants, small breweries, micro-distilleries and wineries to sell to-go alcoholic beverages.

The law went into effect immediately.

Last April, while Ohioans were under the stay-at-home order amid the coronavirus pandemic, DeWine authorized establishments with liquor licenses to sell and deliver alcoholic drinks, with a two-drink limit.

HB 669 expands on that provision, making it permanent and adds some additional regulations.

According to the law, alcohol can only be sold to-go when accompanying a meal. Establishments may only sell up to three drinks per meal.

Alcohol must be sold in a covered cup or its original, sealed container.

Establishments must also make a “bona fide” attempt to ensure each customer who orders alcoholic drinks is at least 21 years old.

The law also allows food delivery services, such as Uber Eats, DoorDash or Grubhub, to deliver alcohol as long as they first register with state liquor authorities.

HB 669 also permits establishments to allow on-site drinking in parking lots and other outdoor areas that are “immediately adjacent” to their premises.

According to a press release from the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, more than 30 states started allowing restaurants and/or bars to sell cocktails to-go, bottled spirits to-go or both in wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

Ohio is only the second state, next to Iowa, to make the cocktails to-go measure permanent.

Other states, including Texas, Florida, Oklahoma and the District of Columbia, are also considering making their temporary policies permanent as well.

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