Why MN should allow to-go sales of alcohol for restaurants

Restaurants have been among the hardest hit businesses due to lockdowns and other pandemic-related restrictions. Some states have, however,  taken steps to create more favorable conditions for restaurants to operate.

California, Illinois, New Hampshire, Maryland, Texas as well as the cities of Washington D.C and Atlanta have allowed to-go alcohol sales. The state of New York announced it would allow restaurants to deliver alcohol, but only with food. Similarly in Washington, customers must have food along with their order, and alcohol also be picked up curbside. Unfortunately, the case has not been the same in  Minnesota.

Restaurants will be crushed with no alcohol sales

This is certainly problematic. Alcoholic drinks constitute 30 to 50 percent of sales at some restaurants. This presents a significant chunk of lost revenue if restaurants don’t offer alcohol delivery in these conditions. So, it is highly commendable that efforts are being taken to push for temporary amendments on Minnesota’s state alcohol sales laws.

For Instance, the Minnesota Craft Brewers Guild (MCBG) is  seeking to push for temporary amendments to the state alcohol laws mainly impacting breweries. And Lauren Voight, of Minnesota Uncorked,  started a petition to to be sent to Governor Walz which would allow restaurants to make to-go sales. The petition has, so far, garnered a lot of support.

The Minnesota Licensed Beverage Association expressed its support for a temporary to-go measure in a March 23 open letter to Walz. It also suggested guidelines for the program, including requirements that alcohol be sold only in closed, prepackaged containers and that sales be limited to beer and wine only, not hard alcohol. The MLBA also suggests limits on how much beer or wine a customer can order.

A good step in the right direction

Considering the great burden that restaurants are in, loosening delivery laws could be a salve, especially after the recent executive stay at home order that has been issued. Restaurants would be able to make up for lost sales, potentially reduce job losses for the time being and improve their chances of staying in business.