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Bill being pushed to keep alcohol takeout, delivery

Posted at 4:36 PM, Feb 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-10 18:14:46-05

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — A lot of things have changed during this pandemic and one of them is being able to use carry out as an option for not only food, but liquor as well. Now some lawmakers want to make this a law.

Senator Shelly Hettleman, representing Baltimore County is the sponsor of that bill.

"We think it's been working well, there haven't been abuses that we've heard of, so we want to help the small business person as well as the consumer," Hettleman said.

As proposed, the bill would allow restaurants and bars to sell and deliver certain alcoholic beverages for off-premises consumption.

This may be done if the alcoholic beverage is purchased along with prepared food other than prepackaged snacks. To make sure only those 21 or older receive the delivered alcohol, only licensed restaurant employees are allowed to make the delivery, not a 3rd party delivery service like Door Dash or Uber Eats.

The restaurant association approves of this bill, but owners of package good stores we talked to were not as enthusiastic about other businesses taking away customers that might use a liquor store.

"This has been a finely tuned compromise. We still got a couple of details to work out, but this is something we've been working on together."

Some liquor store owners understand the need for alcohol take out to help the struggling restaurant business, but they would like to see the law go back to the way it was before the pandemic.

The bill would limit the hours up to 11 p.m. and local liquor boards must give approval to to the restaurants or bars.

Those with concerns about drinking and driving say this is just another way to make it easier to get alcohol in the car.

"There is nothing in this bill that changes the penalties around drunk driving. We need to hold people accountable that are abusing and getting behind a wheel."

A similar bill will be introduced in the house as well. A hearing is scheduled for Friday the 18th.