A special waiver approved by Texas Governor Greg Abbott now allows certain bars and restaurants to sell to-go cocktails during the coronavirus pandemic.
The waiver, which was approved Saturday, comes one day after Abbott ordered bars to close again following a spike in Covid-19 cases throughout the state. Restaurants were also ordered to cut back occupancy to 50% on Friday. The new rules are meant to allow bars to have an additional source of revenue while they are closed for on-site consumption.
Previously, mixed drinks to go were prohibited under the Alcoholic Beverage Code. Bars were only allowed to sell manufacturer-sealed alcoholic beverages that were 375 milliliters or less for takeout and delivery services, such as make-at-home cocktail kits. These sales are still allowed during this time, but under the new waiver, bars and restaurants that meet certain criteria can make and sell their own mixed drinks for takeout and delivery.
Qualifying restaurants and bars must have mixed beverage permits from TABC and have permanent food service abilities. The drink must be made at the restaurant or bar, must be closed or sealed with tape or adhesive that has the name of the bar and states the drink is an alcoholic beverage, must then be placed in a bag that is zip-tied, and must be sold with food.
In addition, in order to avoid open container law violations, the mixed drinks can not be placed in the passenger seat of a vehicle — they must be placed either in the trunk, back seat, or glove compartment of the vehicle. There is no limit on size of the beverage.