Last week, National Restaurant News reported that the state of Ohio is slated to become the second state to permanently lift restrictions on to-go cocktails and other alcoholic beverages, an allowance that has been in effect in many states as part of COVID-19 relief efforts.
Awaiting Governor Mike DeWine’s signature, Ohio will allow the permanent sale of alcohol to-go, even as other COVID-related policies expire or are lifted. Currently 30 states have loosened the restrictions on alcohol sales, but Ohio is second only to Iowa in permanently legalizing these sales. Currently, other states have extended their alcohol-to-go allowances through the end of the year, in an effort to aid restaurant businesses.
“Clearly, this has had a devastating impact on the thousands of people employed by on-premises establishments in Ohio. Cocktails to-go has become a much needed lifeline for struggling on-premise locations and has now been approved in over 30 states across the country with New Jersey, Illinois, Delaware, Massachusetts and Iowa becoming the most recent states whose legislatures have passed legislation to extend this much-needed business-friendly measure,” David Wojnar of The Distilled Spirits Council of the United States was quoted.
National Restaurant Consultants CEO Richard Weil agrees that continued allowance would greatly benefit the restaurant industry.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has certainly created difficulties for full service sit down operators to recover declining revenues,” he said. “The states that have enacted alcohol to-go sales have provided much needed revenue opportunities to sustain businesses.”
Weil also offered that the increased opportunities exist beyond the direct sales themselves, and will also improve business in peripheral industries.
“Extending the guidelines provides not just increased opportunities for sales, but also challenges operators how to make the best of this with creative products and efficient service and packaging,” he said.
As we see a variety of responses to COVID-19 with the year coming to a close, some states removing restrictions, some extending COVID-era policies, it is important that restaurants and affiliated professionals keep an eye on the specifics of this policymaking and its long-term opportunities and challenges. National Restaurant Consultants is committed to remaining on the forefront of information and ideas, and we are here to help your restaurant business navigate this changing landscape.
Photo by Aurélien Lemasson-Théobald