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Illinois law allows cocktails to-go for another five years

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(The Center Square) – Illinoisans will continue to be able to enjoy restaurant-made cocktails from the comfort of their own home.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed a bill into law that will allow bars and restaurants to continue serving cocktails to-go for another five years.

Andy Deloney, the head of state public policy with the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, said the pandemic-era law was a lifesaver for many businesses.

“When the pandemic began, many states including Illinois jumped into action to help provide some relief to local restaurants and taverns who for the most part across the country had been shut down,” Deloney said.

Before the pandemic, there were more than 25,000 eating and drinking establishments in Illinois in 2018, with an estimated $30 billion in sales. Those numbers decreased significantly during the pandemic as many didn’t survive state-ordered shutdowns in 2020.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, 20 states have enacted laws to permanently allow businesses to sell and deliver cocktails to-go. Illinois is one of 14 states that allowed the practice on a temporary basis.

Deloney said the cocktails to-go movement is spreading around the country.

“This continues what has become a growing and new traditional part of today’s dining scene,” Deloney said. “It’s what patrons have come to expect from their local establishments.”

Before being extended, Illinois’ law was set to expire in June of next year.

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