by Brenée Goforth
Communications Associate, John Locke Foundation
Government officials – federal, state, and local – have been rolling back regulations that inhibit business, charity, and the delivery of essential services. Governments are removing restrictions on everything from plastic bags to where food trucks can vend. While many of these changes are purely temporary, their implementation has sparked a conversation about which regulations are necessary and which ones are not.
On Saturday, my latest opinion piece appeared in Carolina Journal. In it, I looked at which coronavirus-induced changes North Carolina should keep for good. Among the changes I recommend are repealing certificate-of-need restrictions, relaxing restrictions on alcohol delivery, and on closed container cocktail sales.
The relationship between alcohol regulations and coronavirus may not be intuitive, but these regulatory changes are helping people social distance while supporting local businesses who have been distressed by these stay-at-home orders – restaurants. In my piece, I write:
During this time, people have been taking home closed bottles of beer and wine from their favorite restaurants to have with their meals at home; we should allow for closed-container sales of mixed drinks, as well. If you don’t have the same skills at making a Long Island Iced Tea as your bartender does — or you don’t want to have to purchase the five different liquors it takes just to make one at home — a bartender should be able to sell you your favorite mixed drink in a closed container to drink at home, just as they can a bottle of wine or a can of beer. New York, Texas, and Nebraska recently relaxed their ABC regulations to allow for cocktail delivery. This has helped restaurant businesses compensate for the revenue they are losing during this time. Some bars in New York reported selling as many as 200 cocktails a day!
Closed container sales of mixed drinks can help businesses who are taking losses from the outbreak, as well as make the quarantine more bearable for people. In a time where everyone is wishing for things to go back to the way they were, that signature cocktail made by your favorite bartender can bring a sliver of “normal” back into our lives.
God knows how much we are all craving a little bit of normal again.