Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp recently signed into law two bills that now make the legal sale of to-go cocktails from bars and restaurants permanent. The governor had approved the sale of to-go alcohol during the pandemic to help struggling business establishments to stay afloat. Georgia now joins more than 30 states across the nation, in addition to the District of Columbia, who have decided to keep to-go liquor options available even now that pandemic restrictions are loosening up.
According to the new law, bars and restaurants across the state can sell mixed drinks in a closed container that does not feature straw-holes. The containers must be stored in an enclosed area of the vehicle, such as a glove box or the trunk. The individual who picks up the cocktails from the establishment must be the same person who ordered them, and cocktails are not permitted to be included with food deliveries made through third parties, such as Uber Eats or Door Dash. Mixed drinks sold as to-go items cannot contain more than 3 ounces of distilled spirits.
While the law has been met with positivity from many business owners who say that the move will enable them to stay in business, others aren’t so sure about the wisdom of allowing to-go alcohol sales, citing concerns such as the risk of the mixed drinks that are sold winding up in the hands of someone who is not of legal age to drink, or the liability that the business establishment could face if the patron chooses to break the rules and drink while behind the wheel. Georgia’s dram shop laws hold that a business establishment can be found liable for injuries and deaths that occur if the business knowingly provides alcohol to individuals under the age of 21 or those who are obviously intoxicated when they order the drink. The new law allows businesses and even municipalities to opt out of serving to-go drinks. Atlanta’s Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms has extended the order allowing to-go liquor sales at the city’s business establishments throughout the pandemic.
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