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To-go booze back on the menu in Baltimore County

To-go booze back on the menu in Baltimore County
Posted at 10:28 PM, Jul 12, 2021

TOWSON, Md. — Booze to go is back on in Baltimore County.

The County Board of Liquor Licenses held a hearing today to decide on extending the policy.

RELATED: In Focus: Liquor Board gives Baltimore County restaurants & bars okay to sell alcohol to-go

There are some new rules— you’ve got to get food with your cocktails, and you can go all out with two regulated size drinks per order.

It’s the slow season for Towson— and business owners say it’s slower than normal this year.

“With our catering we’ve seen that start picking up but those are dates down the road,” said Nick Zahirsky the General Manager of CVP Towson. “It is definitely down easily 40 percent. There are still people that don’t want to come inside regardless of vaccination rates and COVID cases.”

Zahirsky said they’ve struggled to hire staff, but having the to go revenue stream allows them to have more bartenders on staff to make drinks.

“It’s definitely an extra revenue stream. It’s not overwhelming and it’s not going to take over the mainstay of bar crowd business. It is another thing to get our product, our recipe orange crushes out into the public.”

The policy to allow to go drinks expired June 31 with the state of emergency.

The Baltimore County Liquor Board voted to extend the decision with new rules after a State Senator Shelly Hettleman created a bill.

“We see this as a an economic assistance program,” Hettleman said. “But it's also being responsive to constituents who have enjoyed this and at least in our county seem to be enjoying it responsibly.

It’s up to each individual county liquor board to decide to extend the policy.

So far Anne Arundel County has opted in and Baltimore City has opted out.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving said they aren't opposed to alcohol takeout sales but rather open container and minimum drinking age laws being followed.

“During the Covid-19 crisis, some restaurants and establishments have been delivering alcohol or selling alcohol at drive up/take-out spots. MADD rarely gets involved in alcohol sales issues unless it involves sales to people under the age of 21. These are difficult and different times, but the very real threat of tragedies caused by drunk driving has not stopped. MADD is not opposed to curbside and to-go alcohol sales; our concern is that open container laws and minimum 21 drinking age laws are followed. Alcohol sales policies must recognize the horrific consequences of drunk driving and take all possible precautions to discourage and prevent drinking and driving. It is the responsibility of anyone serving alcohol to ensure that they are serving to individuals over 21 and that they are not overserving anyone. We remind the public that it is never OK to drink and drive. That is why MADD fought so hard to pass open container laws in all 50 states, which have made it illegal to drink while driving. Wherever alcohol is purchased, it should be opened or consumed only in a safe location that will not require more driving.”