As the hospitality industry continues to struggle amid the coronavirus pandemic, Illinois lawmakers approved a measure to allow bars and restaurants to serve cocktails for curbside pick-up and delivery. The bill awaits the governor’s signature.
State Rep. Tim Butler (R-Springfield) said restaurants will still have to follow public health and safety rules.
“Restaurants will be making sure that IDs are checked, and making sure that basset training is in place,” Butler said. “Also, making sure that liquor is delivered safely will be duly followed with this piece of legislation.”
The new rules will be in place for a year, but some backers hope to extend it beyond that. “I hope the Illinois Liquor Commission Control will consider making this permanent, and not just for a year,” Butler said.
However, the ILCC and other opponents of the bill, like some law enforcement agencies, do not support selling liquor that is not in its original packaging. In a statement released in March, the commission said the legislation could increase incidents of drunk driving or product contamination.
The ILCC said in the statement that allowing curbside pickup or delivery is not a safe way to help restaurants and bars.
Still, Sen. Sara Feigenholtz (D-Chicago) said the legislation will help the hospitality industry and put people back to work.
“In the state of Illinois, we have 580,000 jobs in hospitality, and 300,000 of those people are now unemployed,” said Feigenholtz.
The measure provides other forms of relief for restaurants such as fee waivers for liquor licenses, deferred license fees, automatic renewals, and a license extension for 120 days. While it could help bars and restaurants, the measure does not allow brewpubs to be eligible for curbside pickup and delivery.
The new rules would take effect immediately after Gov. J.B. Pritzker signs it, and lasts one year.