Alcohol-To-Go Permanent Law Now in Texas – NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth
Governor Greg Abbott (R) signed a bill on Wednesday that would allow customers to purchase sealed alcoholic beverages to take away from companies across the state.
In March 2020, Abbott issued an exemption for the sale and delivery of take-away alcoholic beverages with a take-away meal to help the restaurant industry hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“… To help restaurants cope better with the pandemic, we have waived the regulation that allows restaurants to sell take-away alcohol,” Abbott said in a video posted on Twitter of the signing the bill was announced. “Well, it turns out that Texas liked it so much that Texas law enforcement wanted to make this permanent law in the state of Texas.”
The bill, written by Rep. Charlie Geren and Senator Kelly Hancock, included a provision requiring beverages to be sealed either in a container sealed by the manufacturer or in a container sealed with a zip tie or similar method and the company name.
The changes will apply to mixed drink permits and private clubs, and will allow these companies to allow customers to pick up alcohol with food orders. Beer and ale pickups will also be allowed starting September 1, according to the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission.
The delivery of alcohol is also permitted with food orders, and approved third parties can also make these deliveries on behalf of the restaurant.
“This new law will help companies keep their doors open and ensure Texans keep their jobs,” Bentley Nettles, executive director of TABC, said in a written statement. “TABC is grateful to Governor Abbott and members of the Texan Legislature for their guidance in this very important step. A big thank you goes to the efforts of the alcohol dealers who have safely and responsibly sold alcohol to fall under last year’s waiver. “
The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) is tasked with clarifying and enforcing the new law.
The agency’s spokesman said TABC did not register a large number of violations in the past year when take-away alcohol and delivery were first allowed to help the troubled businesses.
“We found that most companies were able to obey the rules,” said Chris Porter.
There are several rules that institutions must adhere to:
Orders for take-away alcohol and deliveries must include a grocery order, including a small order.
It must be in a sealed, tamper-evident container or one with a zip tie, and it must have the company name on the container.
As with any such purchase, businesses have a responsibility to ensure that customers are at least 21 years old and not already drunk.
TABC says educating the public and making sure facilities understand the rules will be key to the law’s continued success.
“I think the records from the last few months when the temporary regulations were in place show that companies are serious about the rules and taking safety seriously,” Porter said.
Texas Mothers Against Drunk Driving, or MADD, say compliance comes down to education to make sure people don’t stay behind the wheel and drink.
“It’s always a problem that the number of alcohol violations is increasing and of course driving could be drunk,” said Debra Marable, program director of the MADD. “The first step is not to drink or drive. It’s 100% preventable and one of the things to think about before doing it. “