“They want to go back to work, but they also want to stay safe,” says Reason contributor and bartender Jacob Grier. “It’s really hard to do both at the same time if the only option is for people to come into a bar or a restaurant and to gather inside, especially because we know this is where the virus spreads and because, when you’re eating and drinking, you can’t have a mask on. We’re seeing that’s just a recipe for spreading the virus.”
Grier says that the industry is pushing for the freedom to sell cocktails-to-go. Bars and restaurants “want to be able to package a drink up alongside their food—or even by itself—for a customer to take home and drink there.” Another industry-saving tactic would be to expand outdoor spaces for drinking. That “could be done through closing sidewalks, putting out tables, even closing down streets, and creating public social plazas,” says Grier.
“Or, if you want to go all the way, eliminating open container laws entirely, so that it’s no longer a crime to have a drink outside.”
A number of states are loosening alcohol regulations to help alleviate the economic burden of shutdowns. Iowa has become the first state to fully legalize cocktails-to-go while New York, Colorado, and Virginia, among other states, are experimenting with temporary liberalization. Several other states and municipalities are removing restrictions on public drinking.
Grier hopes these moves will help the hospitality industry as they struggle to navigate a difficult landscape.
“We think we will probably see a lot of contraction that will take years to recover from,” says Grier. “Right now I view these laws allowing cocktails-to-go and expanding outdoor spaces as much about damage control as anything else.”
Produced, shot, and edited by Meredith Bragg.
Photo credits: Soeren Stache/dpa/picture-alliance/Newscom, Mairo Cinquetti/ZUMA Press/Newscom, Yevhen Kotenko/ZUMA Press/Newscom, Chris Urso/ZUMA Press/Newscom Milo Hess/ZUMA Press/Newscom, Dan Anderson/ZUMA Press/Newscom, AlenaKravchenko | Dreamstime.com, ID 139124001 © Alf Ribeiro | Dreamstime.com, ID 175557389 © Thomas Lukassek | Dreamstime.comID 71487697 © Laboko | Dreamstime.com, Ingram Publishing/Newscom, ID 145602005 © Volodymyr Pishchanyi | Dreamstime.com , Niyi Fote/ZUMA Press/Newscom, Bryan Smith/ZUMA Press/Newscom, Flickr, Flickr, Library of Congress.
Founded in 1968, Reason is the magazine of free minds and free markets. We produce hard-hitting independent journalism on civil liberties, politics, technology, culture, policy, and commerce. Reason exists outside of the left/right echo chamber. Our goal is to deliver fresh, unbiased information and insights to our readers, viewers, and listeners every day. Visit https://reason.com
This post has been republished with implied permission from a publicly-available RSS feed found on Reason. The views expressed by the original author(s) do not necessarily reflect the opinions or views of The Libertarian Hub, its owners or administrators. Any images included in the original article belong to and are the sole responsibility of the original author/website. The Libertarian Hub makes no claims of ownership of any imported photos/images and shall not be held liable for any unintended copyright infringement. Submit a DCMA takedown request.