Gov. Greg Abbott supports making alcohol to-go sales permanent

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Sunday, June 21, 2020
Restaurants and bars offering take-out only amid COVID-19
Now, restaurants are offering to-go services on alcoholic beverages when customers order food.

AUSTIN, Texas (KTRK) -- Alcohol to-go sales in Texas could become permanent, according to Gov. Greg Abbott.

On Saturday, Abbott wrote, "This has my support," on Twitter in reference to an article about a campaign by Texas restaurant leaders to make alcohol to-go sales permanent.

This comes as several bars across Texas have had their alcohol permits suspended for 30 days for violating social distancing guidelines, according to the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC).

READ MORE: TABC suspends alcohol permits of 2 Houston-area bars for violating social distancing rules

In April, Abbott said alcohol to-go sales in Texas are allowed to continue past May 1 as his plans to slowly reopen Texas were set to kick in.

In March, the governor issued an order that allowed restaurants to deliver alcoholic beverages with food purchases. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, all restaurants have been limited to delivery or to-go services only.

"From what I hear from Texans, we may just let this keep on going forever," said Abbott in a tweet posted at the time.

At the time the order was issued, the governor also directed the TABC to waive certain provisions to allow manufacturers, wholesalers, and retailers of alcoholic beverages to repurchase or sell back unopened products.

The waivers are in response to the financial hardship caused by COVID-19.

"The State of Texas is committed to supporting retailers, restaurants, and their employees," said Abbott. "These waivers will allow restaurants to provide enhanced delivery options to consumers during this temporary period of social distancing."

Under this waiver, restaurants with a mixed drink permit may sell beer, wine or mixed drinks for delivery as long as they are accompanied by a food purchase from the restaurant.

The buy-back waiver allows alcohol distributors and manufacturers to repurchase excess inventory from restaurants, bars, and clubs affected by event cancellations due to COVID-19.