UPDATE: Govenor Ricketts issued Executive Order "to provide relief to restaurants and bars"
In a time of emergency many regulations are lifted to help business continue and keep people employed. Many states and large cities have lifted regulations allowing for the curbside or delivery sale of alcoholic beverages to keep these places in business.
The Nebraska Liquor Control Commission announced on March 20th that “All OFF-SALE must be in its original un-opened containers. We have received many questions about selling cocktails such as margaritas, sangria and other mixed drinks to go. This is not allowed.”
I think it is worthwhile for Nebraska to look into suspending the regulation on mixed drinks in order to help restaurants during the time of social distancing. We have already seen other states take this approach.
Governor Abbot in Texas issued a waiver to “allow restaurants to deliver alcoholic beverages with food purchases to patrons, including beer, wine, and mixed drinks”.
In California, the Alcoholic Beverage Control Department eased rules around alcohol delivery making it easier to sell beer, wine, and pre-mixed drinks/cocktails. A chef in San Francisco said, “This is a very helpful way for restaurants to survive”. Restaurant owners in Los Angeles said, “This has the potential to be a huge lifeline for the restaurant industry and for our bartenders who have been completely immobilized….I’m super excited to see what creative options our city’s bartenders come up with!”
Then again, it’s not an issue for places like New Orleans and other areas in Southern Louisiana which have some of the least restricting liquor laws in the country. Drive-thru daiquiri stands are quite the normal scene in this part of the country. How is this legal and how could a state that is looking to loosen their requirements during this time do what Louisiana does every day?
According to a New Orleans law firm, “A daiquiri contained in a cup is legally permissible inside a moving vehicle, as long as the cup is sealed. The legal definition of the term “sealed” in this context is: (1) the lid is intact, (2) no straw is protruding from the cup, whether openly or through the lid, and (3) the cup’s contents have not been removed, either partially or fully.