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Texas makes takeout alcohol sales permanent

Gov. Greg Abbott signed legislation turning his emergency pandemic measure into law, enabling to-go liquor to be a post-pandemic option for restaurants.
Photograph: Shutterstock

Texas has enacted legislation that will permit restaurants to continue selling alcoholic beverages with to-go food orders even after the pandemic ends, the Texas Restaurant Association (TRA) announced Wednesday.  

Similar legislation is being pursued in a number of other states that permitted the sale of beer, wine and mixed drinks early in the COVID crisis as a way of helping restaurants snag additional sales while dining rooms were closed. Many operators say consumers readily embraced the option, prompting many restaurateurs and their representatives to press lawmakers and governors to make the concessions permanent.

Few negative effects have been reported, and advocates say states are eager to capture the additional tax dollars that the sale of to-go alcohol can generate.

A survey conducted last year by the National Restaurant Association found that 81% of Texans favored a permanent extension of the emergency directive from Gov. Greg Abbott that permitted the sale of alcoholic beverages for takeout and delivery.

Abbott signed the necessary legislation into law on Wednesday. The new law takes effect immediately.

The TRA described the sale of to-go alcohol as “one of the few silver linings in a very difficult year.” Making that capability a permanent one for Texas’ restaurant industry was a high priority.

“We still have a long road to recovery ahead, but with tools like alcohol to-go, the restaurant industry’s future is brighter than ever in Texas,” Emily Knight, CEO of the TRA, said in a statement.  

Texas is second only to California in the number of restaurants it hosts.

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