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Texans can now legally order alcoholic drinks to-go from restaurants and bars for the foreseeable future thanks to a new state law.
On Wednesday, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed House Bill 1024, which allows beer, wine and alcoholic drinks to be included in pickup and delivery food orders from establishments with mixed-beverage permits and on-site kitchens.
The bill — filed by Republican Rep. Charlie Geren, who owns the Railhead Smokehouse in Fort Worth, Texas — was drafted to permanently secure a revenue stream made available last year to restaurants and bars who had to close on-site dining due to the pandemic.
"Today is a great day for Texas restaurants, as well as for customers," Abbott said in a video of the bill signing shared on Twitter.
"What happened is during the course of the pandemic to help restaurants, be able to better deal with the pandemic, we waived a regulation to allow restaurants to sell alcohol to-go," he continued. "Well, it turns out, Texans liked it so much, the Texas legislature wanted to make it permanent law in the state of Texas."
"Alcohol to-go is now law in the state of Texas," Abbott added.
Per the new legislation, alcoholic drinks must be purchased with food and sealed in a tamper-proof container. Mixed beverages containing distilled spirits must come with a label that includes the retailer's business name and the words "alcoholic beverage."
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"This new law will help businesses keep their doors open and ensure Texans keep their jobs," Bentley Nettles, the executive director of Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission, said in a news release.
"TABC is grateful to Governor Abbott and members of the Texas Legislature for their leadership on this critically important measure," Nettles said. "And a big thank you goes out to the efforts of alcohol retailers who have been safely and responsibly selling alcohol to go under last year's waiver."