Alcoholic drinks are now permanently available to-go in Texas, thanks to legislation signed by Governor Greg Abbott today on Thursday, May 12. House Bill 1024 allows restaurants and bars with mixed-beverage permits and on-site kitchens to sell beer, wine, and mixed drinks for pickup and delivery orders.
This legislation is the continuation of emergency measures to boost sales for struggling restaurants during the COVID-19 pandemic. Gov. Abbott issued a waiver for beer, wine, and cocktail kits with bottles less than 375 milliliters in March 2020, which was supposed to end in May of that year. Then in June, the governor, the Texas Restaurant Association (TRA), and Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) included mixed drinks to-go in the waiver and extended it indefinitely. This newest bill makes those waivers permanent.
The new legislation keeps the same safety measures in place such as that alcoholic beverages must be purchased with food and must be in a tamper-proof container.
Support for the bill has been overwhelmingly positive: the Texas House of Representatives approved the legislation in March by a vote of 144-1 and the Texas Senate approved it in April by a vote of 30-1. A poll from Cygnal found that 65 percent of Texans support restaurants selling alcohol to-go.
Texas is now the 10th state during the COVID-19 pandemic to permanently legalize selling alcohol to-go. The Texas legislature is also considering three bills that would allow seven-day alcohol sales at either a state (HB 937) or local level (SB 1013; HB 2232).