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Cocktails to go may help out restaurants

Many have wondered whether some of the changes made in response to the COVID-19 pandemic might become permanent as we transition into a “new normal.” Ohio lawmakers are considering one that should make restaurant and bar owners cheer — but should also come with a note of caution.

The House of Representatives has already approved a measure that would make the sale of to-go alcoholic beverages legal permanently. Now it is up to the state Senate to decide whether a measure put in place via Gov. Mike DeWine’s executive order in April will become law.

“This legislation gives our dining industry the opportunity to rise to the occasion,” Rep. Jeff LaRe, R-Violet Township, told another media outlet. “The creative approaches outlined in the bill allow for more Ohioans to frequent our bars and restaurants while safely abiding by social distancing requirements. It is my hope that House Bill 669 will not only allow businesses across the state to recoup lost profit, but to also maximize their revenue generation.”

It is important that the final version of the bill include precautions such as one in DeWine’s original order that allowed no more than two drinks per meal to be ordered. Perhaps it would even be prudent for restaurants and bars to include a reminder with their to-go orders that the beverages are NOT to be consumed by drivers or passengers in a vehicle.

But the bill is a good one and should receive support in the state Senate similar to the overwhelming report it got in the House. Our communities’ bars and restaurants will need all the help they can get as we make our way back to whatever “normal” awaits.

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