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California just made it easier for bars, wineries, distilleries to offer to-go drinks

APphoto_Virus Outbreak California
Bartender Taylor Osorio wears a face mask as she pours drinks at Centro Cocina Mexicana restaurant in Sacramento on Friday. A state rule change will make it easier for bars and wineries to sell to-go drinks.
(Rich Pedroncelli/AP)

More California establishments are now allowed to sell alcoholic beverages to go, a response to the state temporarily relaxing another rule in a bid to help businesses during the coronavirus pandemic.

Bars, wineries, distilleries and breweries that don’t have their own kitchens can sell alcoholic drinks to go, as long as they partner with a meal provider to offer the drinks with food, the state Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control announced Friday night. Drinks must also be sold in sealed containers.

“We know businesses have suffered as they continue fighting to slow the spread of COVID-19,” Jacob Appelsmith, the department’s director, said in a statement. “We have heard directly from these businesses that the notices of regulatory relief can give them a boost and help bring more people back to work.”

The move comes after the department on March 19 relaxed rules to allow businesses that operate kitchens to sell alcoholic drinks and cocktails to go in conjunction with meals. After that, it received numerous requests to extend the relief to businesses that don’t have kitchens, officials said in a news release.

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The Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control has temporarily relaxed a variety of other rules and regulations for licensees, including authorizing takeout dining and alcoholic beverages to go for more than 45,000 restaurants, officials said in a news release.

The department also has permitted virtual wine tastings, free alcohol delivery and alcohol transactions through pass-out windows, and distilleries have been permitted to make hand sanitizers and disinfectants, provided they’re cleared by federal authorities, officials said.


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