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Illinois Senate passes cocktails-to-go bill

Illinois Senate passes cocktails-to-go bill

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SPRINGFIELD — A measure allowing bars and restaurants to serve cocktails to go passed the Illinois Senate unanimously Saturday.

State Sen. Sara Feigenholtz, D-Chicago, said in a news release the bill is aimed at bringing “much needed” relief to bars and restaurants impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a floor debate, she added that 300,000 of the 580,000 people employed in the hospitality industry in Illinois are currently jobless as indoor dining is still not allowed under the state’s stay-at-home order.

Per the bill, bars and restaurants would be allowed to sell pre-mixed cocktails or other mixed drinks for delivery and curbside pickup, provided they are in tamper-proof sealed containers. Drivers would be required to store mixed drinks in a trunk or other inaccessible compartment.

The mixed drink measure would be repealed one year after the effective date of the bill — whenever it was signed by Gov. JB Pritzker — should it also pass in the House.

The measure, House Bill 2682, included other provisions aimed at assisting businesses that have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic as well. Those include automatically renewing and extending liquor licenses and waiving late filing fees for a license holder that has had business suspended in any capacity due to the pandemic. 

Photos: Amid COVID-19, Illinois lawmakers meet in Springfield

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The Senate on early Sunday morning passed a budget package authorizing $42.8 billion in general revenue spending next year, although much of that remains tentative depending on the progression of the COVID-19 pandemic and potential congressional action that could send more financial aid to states. The House approved the budget bill late Saturday night.

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