AUGUSTA, Ga. – Restaurants and bars are still recovering from last year.
The Georgia Restaurant Association says 3,800 restaurants in the state closed their doors. But state leaders are offering other ways to serve.
A bill allowing bars to continue offering cocktails to-go is sitting on Gov. Brian Kemp’s desk, waiting on his signature. And while it may help businesses, not everyone is fully on board with the idea.
Last year, Pineapple Ink Tavern opened the doors in March, only to close them a few days later for lockdown.
And after re-opening like other restaurants, they tried to find creative ways to serve.
“Take us with you, you know. I think that would be something that people would really enjoy,” Manager Andre Nava said. “We do the to-go wine bottles, but we didn’t really have an opportunity to do like canned cocktails.”
But now they might have the chance, lawmakers want to continue allowing restaurants to serve alcoholic drinks to-go beyond the pandemic.
It’s all to try to help an already devastated industry.
“I think it would have a positive impact on business. You know, it gives us …. A larger crowd to appeal to,” Nava said.
The Georgia Restaurant Association says cocktails offer the biggest income for most restaurants that serve them.
And last year, the industry took a $50 billion dollar loss.
But the bill comes with concern too.
Mothers Against Drunk Driving had this to say:
“We are concerned that a permanent change to allow curbside alcohol sales could violate open container laws and lead to an increase in drunk driving…”
They say, just as the law states, the seal needs to stay closed until you’re off the road.
“…. It’s not really any different than buying it from a liquor store, or buying beer from the grocery store, it’s just, it’s a different product,” Nava explained.
The bill also requires you to put the drink in your glove compartment, trunk or back of the vehicle.
And in South Carolina, lawmakers are in the process of passing a bill to allow curbside pickup and grocery delivery services for alcohol.