Californians can now order alcoholic beverages to go

In a memo yesterday detailing relief efforts for small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic, the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control has temporarily allowed retailers to sell alcoholic beverages for takeout. This lifts a ban previously imposed on restaurants and bars to only sell alcohol in-house.

Bars can sell manufactured pre-packaged containers of liquid, such as pre-mixed drinks, cocktails, beer or wine, to customers to go when the beverage is purchased with a meal. If you sell an alcoholic beverage to go, you have to pack it in a container with a lid or cap without a sipping hole or opening for a straw.

While the notice temporarily lifted a ban on the sale of alcoholic beverages, it did not impact the open-carry laws imposed by the state. If you pick up a beverage and want to drive home to enjoy it at a socially safe distance, you have to put the drink in the trunk. Not the utility compartment or glove compartment. You also can’t consume alcohol in public or in any area where open containers are prohibited, the memo notes.

Other relief efforts include allowing retailers to sell alcohol through drive-through windows or slide-out trays. This is in effect until further notice.