Colorado residents and visitors will be able to get alcohol takeout and delivery from restaurants for another four years.
Gov. Jared Polis signed HB21-1027 on Tuesday at Northside Kitchen in Avon. The new law will restrict to-go drinks from 7 a.m. to midnight every day, and limit each order to one liter of spirits, two bottles of wine and two six-packs of beer. It also allows for restaurants to continue serving drinks in communal outdoor dining areas if their local governments approve them.
The new law is an extension of Polis’ emergency executive order during the coronavirus pandemic that allowed restaurants to sell to-go margaritas and other cocktails when indoor dining was shut down or restricted.
It will take effect when the order expires, expected at the end of this month, and will continue until July 1, 2025.
Polis called it a lifeline for many restaurants during the pandemic and something Colorado could take from the pandemic that could create a “new normal that’s even better” for small businesses and consumers.
“There’s certain things that we did that worked, that helped restaurants, that helped consumers, that made our mountain towns even more amazing and fun for visitors from Colorado and across the world as well as local residents,” Polis said. “And one of those was the outdoor communal dining and another one is the very simple act of letting people order a drink with their dinner.”
The Colorado Restaurant Association applauded the move, with President and CEO Sonia Riggs saying in a statement that the new law will help Colorado restaurants start to recover from the $3 billion in revenue they lost in 2020.
“Selling alcohol to-go beverages gives restaurants the opportunity to serve customers where they are and provides a revenue stream that gives restaurants a fighting chance at survival,” Riggs said.
Both Republican and Democratic lawmakers supported the bill because they say it will benefit Colorado’s economy (which is doing quite well, with 11.4% more revenue through June 30 than experts had expected in March), and give consumers something they support.
Henderson Republican Sen. Kevin Priola, one of the bill sponsors, said the law is a better reflection of Coloradans’ consumption habits and updates laws that are relics of Prohibition. Although he initially supported making this change permanent, he and other backers, including Polis, believe the law will likely be a success to the point that the state ultimately will.
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