By Staff

AUSTIN, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – After first coming to light as an executive order in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic, alcohol to-go is now a law in Texas.

Gov. Greg Abbott signed House Bill 1024 on Wednesday after it was passed by the Texas Senate on April 28. The bill was authored by state Rep. Charlie Geren and sponsored by state Sen. Kelly Hancock.

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“During the course of the pandemic, to help restaurants be able to better deal with the pandemic, we waived the regulation to allow restaurants to sell alcohol to go,” Abbott said in a video announcement on Wednesday. “Well, it turned out that Texans liked it so much that Texas Legislature wanted to make that permanent law in the state of Texas.”

Restaurants and bars in Texas had been able to sell alcohol to-go on orders for pickup and delivery since June 2020 under an executive order.

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“Texas restaurants took a serious hit during the pandemic,” Hancock said in a statement after the bill was passed by the Texas Senate. “Something as simple as letting Texans safely pick up and transport a cocktail from their local restaurant allowed thousands of businesses to keep operating, employ staff, and serve their communities for years to come. I want to thank Chairman Geren and our colleagues for working together to help this bill move quickly.”

The new law requires cocktails to be sold in sealed and tamper-proof containers and be picked up as part of food orders.

“Governor Abbott acted quickly to support Texas restaurants and bars by allowing cocktails to-go via executive order during the pandemic,” said Kristi Brown, Distilled Spirits Council of the United States Senior Director of State Government Relations. “Cocktails to-go provided a much-needed lifeline for struggling hospitality businesses and prevented the permanent closure of many. Now that this measure is permanent, hospitality businesses will have increased stability as they begin the long path to recovery. We applaud the Texas Legislature and Governor Abbott for supporting local businesses and for providing increased convenience to consumers.”

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The new law goes into effect starting Sept. 1, 2021. Staff