Cocktails To-Go, A Single Welcome Result of the Pandemic
The Covid-19 crisis has not only devastated the world but has changed our entire way of life. One particular aspect of our daily lives that has been turned upside down: dining out. However, the lack of indoor dining has not been all that bad.
More specifically, the take-out cocktails. Before the lockdown, drinking laws basically boiled down to two things: you need to be 21 and not in public. Unless, of course, you’re drinking in a bar or restaurant. Drinking in public, say walking down the street, is seen as somewhat taboo, leaving you with the primary drinking option: at home.
Enter Covid-19, and drinking laws began relaxing to provide restaurants with a boost in sales while their doors are shuttered. State and local municipalities have started allowing patrons to order their cocktails to-go.
Considering that alcoholic drinks account for 20%-30% of a restaurant’s total sales, this can mean life or death for a struggling business. But even one step further than that might indicate that the pandemic has opened the public’s eyes to ending open container laws once and for all.
In March 2020, California sent out its first notice of regulatory relief, which was met with concerns of an increase in people driving while intoxicated. However, it does not appear to be the case. In fact, according to Breathe Easy Insurance, during the first half of 2020, DUIs were down a whopping 42% in California. Of course, it’s important to note that people were driving less due to quarantine. However, it does imply that removing open container laws altogether would not mean more people sipping their Mai Tia on the drive home from grabbing their to-go order.
So how did we get here?
The ban on public drinking dates all the way back to the 1800s and the prohibition. Along with the ban on drinking in general, drinking in public was absolutely out of the question. But where do these laws stand today in our modern world? Is it still practical to uphold the same drinking regulations that were put in place decades ago? Thanks to Covid-19 and local municipalities, the answer seems to be a resounding no, if at least in the short run.
What Might Open Container Laws Look Like Post Pandemic?
Now that the cat is out of the bag on take-out cocktails, is it really feasible to go back now that the public has seen the other side? One can only surmise that repealing open container laws altogether and continuing on post-Covid-19 will help repair the damage done to the restaurants that barely stayed afloat during the lockdown.
Without open container laws, there could be an increase in support of local businesses altogether. How? Well, imagine being downtown, grabbing your favorite beer, and walking around to different shops, or maybe grabbing a bottle of wine for a picnic in a beautiful local park. Dreamy right? And it is additionally beneficial for the local shops. Since people are leaving with their drinks, it opens more space for patrons to enjoy drinking and dining on the premises if they wish.
It’s time to remove open container laws on the whole and allow people to enjoy an alcoholic beverage in public. Wouldn’t it be nice when your friends want to leave a bar, you no longer have to chug the drink in your hand before moving on? It seems to be the reasonable thing to do.
One can only hope that the flexibility remains, and we can continue to drink without fear of a fine, all while supporting local businesses.