Missouri is temporarily waiving restrictions on to-go and delivery orders of alcoholic beverages, the Division of Alcohol and Tobacco Control(ATC) announced yesterday.
Restaurants and bars will now be able to mix cocktails and package them to-go, in addition to the prepackaged alcohol like beer they were able to sell before.
“It’s being done to try to help restaurants out, and their employees, who are facing very difficult economic circumstances because of the coronavirus pandemic,” said ATC Spokesperson Mike O’Connell.
For Karen Geotz, owner of Dive Bar in Columbia, this is a welcome change.
“I am hoping that we are going to see people pop in and order some food, grabbing a cocktail or two to take home,” said Geotz. “I’m hoping that we’re going to start seeing those friendly faces coming in again.”
Mixed drinks sold under the waived restrictions must be served in a sturdy container and must be sealed either inside a tamper-proof bag or with tamper-proof tape.The packaging is intended to discourage drinking and driving since it remains illegal to do so. According to Geotz, businesses didn’t know what kind of supplies they would need until the waiver was announced. Fortunately, Dive Bar was prepared with most of the materials.
“We have plastic cups already prepared,” said Geotz. “The only thing that we were not prepared for was the tamper-resistant tape that they’ve said that needs to go on all of these drinks.”
Geotz said the cost of the supplies will factor into how they move forward.
“There is a cost to it, and some of it is not, not cheap,” said Geotz. “I’m willing to outweigh the costs to see what the demand is. We’ll eat that cost as a cost of doing business at this point."
Dive Bar has opened a small store selling essential groceries as a way of bolstering business during the pandemic. Geotz encourages people to “shop local, support local.”
“Know that businesses like ours (are) staying open because we want our staff to have a place to work,” said Goetz. “The uncertainty of a job is so stressful for people and being able to give people that solid foundation, to know that they have a place to go to work and that we’re doing everything that we can to keep those doors open is very important.”
Businesses hope the move will attract more customers until the waiver expires on May 15.