Months ago, the idea that Texas restaurants could sell alcohol to-go seemed outrageous to fathom. Yet here we are, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, and the governor is saying (or at least tweeting) that take-out alcohol sales may be the new normal.
The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission says that restaurants with a mixed beverage permit are permitted to sell alcohol to-go, as long as—among other guidelines—it's distributed in the manufacturer-sealed container and accompanied by a food order. According to the TABC, under its "reopening Texas businesses" section of coronavirus updates, that permission will continue past Friday, when restaurants are allowed to re-open dining rooms to a maximum 25 percent guest occupancy, per Abbott's executive order.
But that's not all. CBS Austin first noticed the TABC's relaxing of the to-go option guideline, and the governor referenced it in a tweet on Tuesday.
That's a big deal in a state with historically tight and sometimes antiquated liquor laws. (Remember how long it took manufacturing breweries to sell their beer to-go?) Judging by what hospitality workers are saying in the aftermath of the governor's tweet, they believe it's something that's long overdue.
"I think it's a reality that things need to change and that includes how we allow restaurants to serve our guests' needs," says Sean Beck, beverage director at H-Town Restaurant Group (Backstreet Cafe, Caracol, Hugo's, Xochi). "I will work to put amazing wines in the hands of people, however I'm allowed."