To-go cocktails bill passes committee

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Legislation recently advanced from Sen. Bill Dodd to boost his previous relief for struggling restaurants and bars by expanding provisions of his 2021 law allowing the sale and delivery of to-go cocktails.

“The pandemic has been hard on small businesses, especially in the restaurant and bar sector,” Dodd, D-Napa, said in a press release. “Allowing flexibility in the sale of to-go cocktails has been a lifeline. To ensure a strong recovery and to answer consumer demand, we must expand that successful provision in ways that will make sense and will be beneficial to all.”

Gov. Gavin Newsom last year signed Dodd’s Senate Bill 389, which allowed the sale of to-go alcoholic beverages as part of take-out restaurant food orders. It came as restaurants nationwide recovered from hundreds of billions of dollars in losses sustained because of lockdowns and social distancing requirements to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus.

The new bill, Senate Bill 846, expands the previous legislation, removing the meal requirement to increase options for consumers and business owners. It also extends the carry-out cocktail provision to bars, which also have been hard-hit by the pandemic.

The bill also allows for the delivery of to-go cocktails from both types of businesses. Finally, the bill increases oversight of alcohol delivery by the state’s Alcohol Beverage Control department to prevent underage drinking.

Dodd currently represents the 3rd Senate District, which includes all of Solano County and all or portions of Napa, Yolo, Sonoma, Contra Costa and Sacramento counties.

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