AUSTIN, Texas (KTRK) -- We know at least one thing from the COVID-19 pandemic is sticking around in Texas: buying alcohol to go from restaurants.
Gov. Greg Abbott signed House Bill 1024 into law on Wednesday. It allows beer, wine and mixed drinks to be included in pickup and delivery food orders, securing a revenue stream made available to restaurants in the last year during the pandemic, intended to help those businesses when they closed their dining areas.
"Today is a great day for Texas restaurants as well as for their customers," Abbott said in a video on his Twitter account. "To help restaurants better deal with the pandemic, we waived a regulation to allow restaurants to sell alcohol to go. Well, it turned out that Texans liked that so much, the Texas legislature wanted to make that permanent law in the state of Texas."
The new, permanent alcohol-to-go option could benefit the restaurant industry after it was devastated during the pandemic. According to the Texas Restaurant Association, 700,000 restaurant employees in Texas lost their jobs in the early days of the pandemic, and thousands of Texas restaurants have closed.
"Bars and restaurants in Texas have leaned on cocktails to-go throughout the pandemic as a lifeline to keep their doors open and generate revenue," said Kristi Brown, senior director of state government relations for the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, back in April. "Now, the legislature has taken action to make this critical measure permanent and provide long-term support for Texas businesses. We thank Governor Abbott for being a vocal supporter of cocktails to-go and encourage him to sign this bill as soon as possible and make the business- and consumer-friendly measure permanent in Texas."
Abbott has made it so.
The video above is from a previous report prior to the alcohol to go bill becoming law.